Creek side, or a berry you should not eat…


Another local berry this one worthy of it’s own blog. Both because of its captivating beauty as well as it’s effects. (Solanum dulcamara) it is commonly known as climbing nightshade or bittersweet nightshade.

climbing nightshade

This is a lovely little plant with a seriously bad history. Fundamentally the berries (which are present in this photo but not ripe) are poisonous. The berries ripen by starting green, like the ones in the photo, and turning orange then eventually red. Birds and skunks love them and eat them quite often so the level of them being poisonous depends upon where you look. Most respectable books tell you that they are not good for consumption by children or dogs. (As few as three berries have been known, sadly, to cause a child’s death.) 

The berries actually cause very nasty effects which include lower intestinal issues as well as your more mind-numbing hallucinations. They are not recommended to actually eat. The most interesting aspect of this plant is it came from England (it is not native) and the reasoning for the English to bring this plant here was to ward off a witch spell. They would wear it around their neck to destroy the spells cast on them.

….a quick like a bunny p.s. I managed to get a shot of the berries today both the ripe and unripe variety. This should help a lot with identification.



15 Responses to “Creek side, or a berry you should not eat…”

  1. Great image and info Lori, those would not go well on a family picnic, I might be wrong I think there is also a mushroom that has nightshade in it’s name that is poisonous as well.

  2. Nice shot, Aullori! That’s a bit different than the blue nightshade we have growing wild here (also toxic). Good info too.

  3. Hi Bernie – you keep talking mushrooms and your going to get me studying them! 🙂 I know there is one (that I can reconize by sight but can’t recall the name it runs up through this area deep into the Rockies) that is edible. It’s a funky looking fungi and from what I’ve heard quite tasty. ps. I think your well wishes sent us more rain. Thanks! 😉

  4. Adam! I hope you had a fabulous time on the coast! I looked up your blue nightshade and this guy is very different. (Which I notice is common with the nightshade plants..) Yours is very beautiful too. (I can’t wait to look over your coast shots.)

  5. Nice blog! 😀 Full of information.

  6. Thank you for stopping by Umm Yusuf I’m honored! 🙂

  7. You take great shots and write such great informative articles. Thank you! Maybe I can quit buying National Geographics books. I know when I do research how time consuming it can be so I applaud you for your fine comments. I like how you always find something extra to spice up the facts. I love a great storyteller as my dad and granddad could always spin a good one. Great blog.

  8. 8 montucky

    Synchronicity strikes again! Just last week I shot a couple of photos of this plant and hadn’t identified it yet. These were growing right beside a small stream. Your photos are excellent!

  9. Hi Painting artist – thank you so much for your kind words! Comparing me to your granddad and your dad – wow now that’s pressure! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by. I really enjoy your blog too – I like drawing on your painting experience and making a weak attempt to filter it thru my photos. Sincerely you taking us viewers through your painting steps is really making me look at what I do a lot differently. You keep up your excellent work and I’ll be watching closely!

  10. Hi Montucky – You like The Police too? 🙂 Sounds like you found yours right where I found mine (it was a tricky shot?) In my case the creek movement kept moving the plant. I refused to use a flash (and in the end I’m glad I didn’t.) Hey, p.s. don’t eat those berries unless you want some weird peyote experience. The good news is may your find your totem – the bad news is you may have to name him “Earl” because he follows you wherever you go.

  11. Thanks for the history on nightshade. I never knew the bit about the witches! I have some of this in the back of my yard.

  12. Hi Mark, I’m happy that this helped in identification, sincerely, sometimes I don’t have a clue where I’m going or intend to go with this site but that is one of my primary goals. That said, I stopped by your site and you take some really stunning photos. I’ll be visiting again that’s for sure. (I really appreciate your insights and tips into taking better nature photography.) Thank you.

  13. Solid page:D will definitely visit soon…

  1. 1 The second installment of berry’s to eat or not to eat… « Random Musings
  2. 2 Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) « Montana Outdoors

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