A Curiously Shady Character: Bittersweet Nightshade (archive)
Published on Monday December 19, 2016
Authored by PEIISC
A Curiously Shady Character: Bittersweet Nightshade
An ominous name to begin with, this perennial vine is seen throughout Prince Edward Island. This little beast has a number of names, including climbing nightshade, and thrives in a wide variety of habitats; however, it loves to grow around streams and wetlands. It can become prolific, growing out into the creek, creating a false bed that can interfere with fish passage.
Bittersweet is a beautiful, but toxic plant, with star-shaped, purple, backwards-pointing petals and stems fused in a prominent yellow cone. These flowers grow in clusters on short stalks that extend from the stems. When the berries are ripe, they are round/egg shaped and bright red when ripe with yellow, flattened seeds. Although the plant can be toxic to humans and livestock, its unpleasant smells does not often attract grazers and curious little mouths.
Although this plant is not actively being actively tracked by the Spotter’s Network due to its widespread nature, if you see any dense, heavy clusters, let us know!
– Kelley Arnold, Watershed Coordinator, Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group (SAWIG)