Scientific NameSolanum dulcamara
Other Common Names:
Leaves: Dark green to sometimes dark purplish, 1-4 inches long, petiolated, alternate, and often have 2 basal lobes or leaflets at the base. Leaves not lobed in this manner are ovate to oval. All leaves have smooth, entire margins and may have an unpleasant odor. Lobed leaves are a good identifying characteristic, however they are not always present as illustrated here.
A trailing or climbing perennial vine with purple and yellow flowers and spreading stems that may reach up to 10 feet in length. All parts of the plant are toxic. Perennial vine that roots at the nodes, often with leaves that have 2 basal leaflets at the base. Eastern Black Nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum) is often confused with bittersweet nightshade, but is an annual with an upright growth habit, and has wavy leaf margins and black berries.
Flower Seed Head
Flowers: Star-shaped, with purple petals and a yellow or orange center, 12-16 mm in diameter.
Stems: Becoming semi-woody with age, creeping, prostrate, and rooting at the nodes. Fruit: Bright-red, egg-shaped berries arranged in clusters. Berries contain flat, round, yellowish seeds.
Bittersweet nightshade is found throughout most of the United States, most common in the eastern and north-central states.
woody bush or tree
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval