Woody Nightshade is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in woodland, hedgerows and waste ground, to a mature height of up to 250cm.
The origin of the name Woody Nightshade is uncertain. The term 'Woody' may relate to the woodiness of the plant or its habitat. The name 'Nightshade' may be a connection between the poisonous properties of this plant and that of the Deadly Nightshade (another member of the same plant family). However, although sharing the name 'Nightshade' these plants are very different in appearance and the toxins they contain. Woody Nightshade has clusters of small, star-shaped, purple-petalled and yellow-centred flowers, and bears berries that ripen to a bright-red colour. Deadly Nightshade has large, individual, purplish-black, bell-shaped flowers, and bears large berries that ripen to a black colour. Woody Nightshade contains the toxin solanine, whereas Deadly Nightshade contains the toxins atropine, scopalamine and hyoscyamine. Both plants can cause severe illness and death, but Deadly Nightshade is more toxic and likely to kill.
Botanic classification and naming: Woody Nightshade is a member of the Nightshade (Solanaceae) family. The genus name
'Solanum' identifies the plant as a Nightshade and its species name 'dulcamara' means 'bitter-sweet plant'.
Concerns: Sea Bittersweet is a very toxic plant.