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By Cardoon

Derbyshire, United Kingdom Gb

I have trawled my A-Z but can't find this. It is growing in amongst a rambling rose and I am hoping that it isn't a weed! Can anyone tell me what it is please?




Solanum dulcamara, woody nightshade.

Those green berries will turn bright red. They are poisonous but they are also about the most bitter thing I ever tasted so there's not much chance of anyone eating a harmful amount.

Americans often misname it as deadly nightshade but it isn't.

27 Jul, 2013


Why did you eat some if they are poisonous? And if you did, how come you're not dead? LOL

27 Jul, 2013


Agree with Thepoisongardener's ID. If you have children who visit, remove it, its' not worth the risk - one of my toddlers ate one of these and finished up in hospital for 48 hours with a massively elevated heart rate. He was ok, but it wasn't much fun.

27 Jul, 2013


There is, as The poisonetc has said many times before a big difference between poisonous and toxic. To an adult the berries of this are poisonous but not deadly, however to a child..................

28 Jul, 2013


Sorry to hear that Bamboo. Mostly children dislike bitter tastes and spit out whatever it is. That's why there are so few actual instances like yours.

I understand why your experience would lead you to say Cardoon should remove it but you can't remove every plant that could be harmful.

28 Jul, 2013


I sympathise with the problem but I found it in my garden and used it as an opportunity to show my girls its flower and then berry formation and ripening. they knew not to eat it even though it does look like a redcurrant. It lead to alsorts of discussions about why we couldn't eat it but birds could etc.

28 Jul, 2013


It is a good education, and my dad always taught me the plants rather than weed them out so I never had a chance to see them. I still eat yew berries when I'm teaching, to illustrate how birds are so useful to nature, but I am very careful to educate as much as possible so that children and the adults I teach know the reasons behind the rules.

28 Jul, 2013


Thank you all. I must admit I did look up "deadly Nightshade" but couldn't find it in the book. We don't have children (just two cats, who probably won't eat berries anyway) so I will leave it in. It is so pretty and I am sure the birds will enjoy the berries. It is not doing any harm where it is, so there it shall stay.

28 Jul, 2013


Its so pretty, both flowers and berries. I was early taught to enjoy looking but never try eating and still love seeing it in the hedgerows. Cardoon, for more info on deadly nightshade look up Atropa belladonnna- its not in the same family as the other nightshades and isn't a climber - no possibility of confusing it with Woody nightshade. There's another misnomer, Enchanters nightshade, which is a plant of woodlands and also a persistent weed in my front garden!

28 Jul, 2013


I think its attractive too, Cardoon - unfortunately, when my son ate it, it was by mistake I'm sure. He was about 18 months old and we had moved to a place with a derelict garden - the woody nightshade was growing in amongst wild blackberries,which we'd been desultorily picking occasionally, and I didn't realise it was there till too late... I'm not suprised he picked it by accident, he'd have thought it was something like a blackberry. So, for anyone else reading this, the moral is, if very young children are unattended in the garden with edible berries about, just make sure that all the berries present are actually edible. In my experience, children don't eat leaves and flowers off plants, unattended or otherwise, and you can teach them when they're old enough which is which, i.e., nasturtiums yes, rhododendron, no.

29 Jul, 2013


Very frightening experience Bamboo! Glad it turned out OK in the end.

29 Jul, 2013

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