Other names: bittersweet, bittersweet nightshade, bitter nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, climbing nightshade, fellenwort, felonwood, poisonberry, poisonflower, scarlet berry, snakeberry, trailing bittersweet, trailing nightshade, violet bloom, or woody nightshade
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)
Range: It grows in all types of terrain with a preference for wetlands and the understory of riparian forests. Along with other climbers, it creates a dark and impenetrable shelter for varied animals. The plant grows well in dark areas in places where it can receive the light of morning or afternoon. An area receiving bright light for many hours reduces their development. It grows more easily in rich wet soils with plenty of nitrogen.
Native Habitat: It is native to Europe and Asia, and widely naturalized elsewhere, including North America, where it is an invasive problem weed.
Bloom Time: Summer
The fruit is a small berry with a similar feel and odor to a tomato (they are related, after all), but it is poisonous to humans.
In the Middle Ages the plant was thought to be effective against witchcraft, and was sometimes hung around the neck of cattle to protect them from the “evil eye”.
Locations in Photos:
Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME
Nubble Light, Cape Neddick, ME
Mackworth Island State Park, Falmouth, ME
Eastern Promenade, Portland, ME