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A Beautiful Purple Flower...Not So Much

July 12, 2018

Photo Courtesy of Dean Mangrich


Solanum dulcamara L. - Nightshade.  This toxic weed should be removed from your aronia berries once noticed.  Cut the plant at the root to kill the vine.  Our processing centers, who destem, clean & freeze your berries, will immediately quarantine any aronia berries that come into their facilities with any amount of Nightshade present in a harvest tote.  The National Aronia Growers has the right-to-refuse any aronia berries with Nightshade present.


DESCRIPTION - Solanum dulcamara - also known as Bittersweet nightshade, Climbing nightshade, European bittersweet, Woody nightshade, Fellenwort

Botanical Glossary:

Solanum dulcamara is a perennial vine that can grow 1-3 m (3-10 ft.) in height. It grows from a rhizomatous root system. The stems of this plant start out green and can turn a dark red to black color. The stems are generally glabrous (although they can have hairs when young), hollow and can have a woody base. The alternately arranged, ovate leaves are dark green in color and can have a purplish tinge. Some of the leaves are deeply 3-lobed or even divided, while others are simple. In the 3-lobed leaves, the terminal lobe is much larger than the 2 opposite lobes at the base and has an acute apex. The leaves measure 2.5-8 cm (1-3 in.) in length and are 1.5-5 cm (0.5-2 in.) in width. They have an unpleasant odor when crushed. The flowers of Solanum dulcamara are arranged in cymes. These cymes are positioned opposite the leaves. The peduncle measures 1.5-4 cm (0.5-1.5 in.) long. There are usually 10-25 flowers in each inflorescence. The five petals are fused, blue violet (rarely white) in color and their bases are fused. Each of the petals has two shiny, dark green basal spots. The yellow anthers are fused together and emerge from the center of the flower. As the flowers open, their petals become reflexed. These flowers measure about 1.2 cm (0.5 in.) in width. Solanum dulcamara blooms between late May and September. The juicy berries are ovate in shape, start out green and ripen to bright red. They measure 8-11 mm (0.3-0.4 in.) in length. These fruits can persist on the plant after its leaves have fallen off, and contain many disc-shaped yellowish seeds. Page References Bailey 869, Crow & Hellquist 276, Fernald 1253, Gleason & Cronquist 404, Holmgren 379, Magee & Ahles 902, Newcomb 328, Peterson & McKenny 324. 


 Photo Courtesy of David Brezner, hosted by the USDA -NRCS PLANTS database





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