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Can anyone identify this plant?

United Kingdom Gb

This plant/weed has come over my fence from the "wild side" of the boundary. It has a main leaf with two vestigial leaf lobes at the base on the older leaves. I will need to chop it back a bit as it is blocking the path but I tend to let it grow as the bumble bees and the hoverflies love the very small purple flower with a yellow centre. I saw a black cap eating the berries last winter, but haven't seen any other birds eat the berries. I am curious about it and wonder if anyone knows what it might be? On my own photos picture 43 gives a slightly clearer picture of the individual leaves.




Its woody nightshade, poisonous, I'd get rid of it.

26 Aug, 2009


Thank you for your prompt reply!

I have just looked it up and it says the berries are not poisonous to birds so I might leave some of it as the bumble bees love it. I have honeysuckle on the other side and there are far fewer bees on the honeysuckle than the woody nightshade, and both have flowers out at the moment.

It is good to finally know what it is, I have been wondering for the past couple of years.

26 Aug, 2009


Watch out if you get any children visiting though - my son ate one of these berries when he was 3 - ended up in hospital for 24 hours with a heart rate nearly 3 times what it should have been. Lived to tell the tale though!

26 Aug, 2009


I thought it was deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) and was under the impression all parts of it are poisonous. I would never entertain it in my garden, however much the bees liked it. There's lots of safer bee friendly plants to choose from.

26 Aug, 2009


Gosh I've just googled this and got onto a website re poisonous plants and I've got lots!!! Quite pretty though isnt it? :-)

26 Aug, 2009


Deadly nightshade has different flowers, Rogerbee. Woody nightshade is a member of the Solanum group of plants, like potatoes

26 Aug, 2009


And tomatoes

26 Aug, 2009


We seem to be getting into the common name issues again. Since childhood I would have called this Deadly Nightshade and part of the Solanum family. I have just looked in my wildflower book and it identifies the plant as Bittersweet, Solanum dulcamara. My book does not recognise Woody Nightshade as a name. Whatever its name, it is an attractive climber but its berries are poisonous!

26 Aug, 2009


I'm glad your son was ok, Bamboo, that must have been a frightening experience. My garden is very tiny and also wouldn't be a safe place for children. Nearly a third of the back garden is a pond and the Japanese lantern is not cemented together and could topple on a very small person if they ran into it by accident. My friend who has a young child and a toddler rarely comes up due to the hours of travelling involved and I generally meet her at her Mum's flat or in town.

I do have a rabbit, I will check the plant is out of her reach. Apart from having to be very occasionally chased off the azalea which isn't all that good for rabbits she doesn't seem to be interested in nibbling too much outside.

Rogerbee, I don't have children and don't mind poisonous things if the rabbit doesn't eat them, I have a monkshood (aconitum) in the front garden, but the rabbit is not allowed there.

Bornagain, I would love to learn more about our native plants, poisonous or not - I found a site which described some of the uses for woody nightshade and it was very interesting to learn how it was used in herbal remedies. I think I might give that particular remedy a miss though! :)

26 Aug, 2009


Bulbaholic, I hadn't realised to what extent common names can cause confusion. I have heard that deadly nightshade can be one of two separate species. I confess I don't find Woody nightshade particularly attractive during the summer as most of it is a mass of leaves - the flowers really are tiny. I enjoy seeing the bees happy though. My garden is more of an aquatic one! - I don't really have the space to grow much for bees apart from a few herbs which they like when they flower. The red berries have now started and they do look nice in winter though. I find it interesting that they are very poisonous to humans but edible by birds.

26 Aug, 2009


What a lot of confusion over the use of common names! I was brought up believing it to be 'deadly...' when its been 'woody.....' all along (well in recent years anyway). Ironically I was aware that it was part of the solanum family but followed the latin name for the 'deadly.....' Solanum dulcamara it is from now on then! Thank you to everyone in helping to clear that up.

27 Aug, 2009


Weedfingers, I saw that site too, I also think our native plants interesting and was very excited recently to be told (on garden questions) I had photographed bryony, It was lovely and draped the hedgerows like garlands. That too, I was informed, is poisonous:-( Also took photo of wild clematis, but didn't know what it was until I put it in "garden questions" (don't think it's poisonous) ;-). what a great site this is! :-)

27 Aug, 2009


Rogerbee, I didn't have a clue what deadly nightshade looked like before I asked this question and then looked up the family. It has been interesting finding out. I am quite careful not to eat anything unless it is sold as a food plant. Unlike my neighbour's nephew who visited his cousin next door and then proceeded to eat some leaves of my honeysuckle and then ask me afterwards if it was poisonous. He was well over the age of eight. Children are odd creatures, lol. I have warned my next door neighbour that my monkshood in my front garden is poisonous. Luckily the neighbour's kids are well behaved and don't go into other people's gardens.

Bornagain, there is so much I don't know about our native plants. This site is an amazing source of information, the people are so helpful and friendly.

27 Aug, 2009


I'm a bit late getting into this conversation but I came across it whilst trying to identify a plant in my garden. Turns out it's woody nightshade. I have dogs and cats and a friend who has a child, who comes to visit from time to time. I'm a little concerned about it's poisonousness, but many plants are poisonous in some way, and I feel like the real danger would be if the cats or dogs would be attracted to eat the berries. The child can be warned, at least, and educated on identifying harmful plants.

It is interesting how some plants are poisonous to some species and not to others, but all berries are meant to be eaten by *something* otherwise they would have some other method of dispersal for their seeds. I suppose the poison is developed to keep us rubbish humans from flushing their seeds down the toilet :p

4 Jul, 2012


Lol, time to confess...I thought it was solanum crispum:-)

5 Jul, 2012

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