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Overview

Brief Summary

Introduction

Solanum dulcamara is a common European weed called woody nightshade, bittersweet or douce amère. It grows in hedgerows, gardens and wasteland throughout Europe and spreads via underground stems.It has been used in folk medicine across Europe for hundreds of years. But Michel Felix Dunal, who worked on Solanum in the 1800s, realised that many of the powers attributed to this plant were spurious.Woody nightshade was used to treat skin conditions, circulatory conditions and breathing problems like asthma. It was included in the official British Pharamcopeia until 1907, but was taken out of later editions.It carries the bacterium - Ralstonia solanacearum – that causes brown rot in potatoes. The disease can be spread to potatoes from infected woody nightshade growing on riverbanks if the river water is used to irrigate potato fields.
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Taxonomy

Solanum dulcamara is a member of a group of about 50 species called the Dulcamaroid clade.Solanum dulcamara is most similar to Solanum.lyratum a species found growing in China and Japan.The leaf shape of Solanum dulcamara is extremely variable. This variation has meant many species names, synonyms, have been given to the same plant.The plant has purple flowers with strongly turned back, reflexed petals, each with a small green and white dot near the centre of the flower.The anthers are bright yellow and held tightly together in a cone shape - a glue-like secretion is responsible for this tightness. Mutant plants that do not produce the glue have anthers that spread apart. (Glover, 2004).The fruits are bright red when ripe and although not as poisonous as Atropa belladonna deadly nightshade they do contain poisonous alkaloids and should not be eaten.For a detailed species description taxonomy with synonymy see Solanaceae Source
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Comprehensive Description

Comments

As a semi-woody vine with deeply lobed leaves, Bittersweet differs from all other members of the Nightshade family that occur in the wild in Illinois. It is somewhat variable in regard to the hairiness of its stems and leaves, and there is an uncommon form with white flowers. Because of the similarity in common names, this introduced vine should not be confused with Celastrus scandens (American Bittersweet), which is a native woody vine from another family of plants. Sometimes Solanum dulcamara is referred to as Bittersweet Nightshade.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This adventive perennial plant is a semi-woody vine about 2-6' long. It can become semi-erect by climbing over adjacent vegetation or fence rows, otherwise it sprawls along the ground. The stems are initially purple and slightly pubescent, or they have scattered appressed hairs. Later, they become brown and woody. These woody stems are semi-hardy in Illinois and may survive some winters to produce foliage. The alternate leaves are up to 4" long and 2½" across. The larger leaves have a triangular outline and 3 deep lobes. These lobes are broadly ovate or cordate, with the terminal lobe being much larger than the side lobes. The margin of each leaf is smooth, while the upper surface is either glabrous or has scattered appressed hairs. The terminal lobe tapers gradually into an elongated tip. The smaller leaves often lack lobes and have an ovate shape, otherwise they are quite similar to the larger leaves. The foliage exudes a rank bitter odor, particularly when the leaves or stems are damaged. Occasionally, angular clusters of 6-12 violet flowers are produced from the stems or the axils of the leaves. The flower buds and their branching stalks are also violet.  Each flower is about 1/3" across, consisting of a purple corolla with 5 triangular lobes, several yellow anthers that are united together to form a slender cone, and an inconspicuous style that extends beyond the anthers. As the lobes of the corolla unfold, they spread outward and then curve sharply backward to expose the anthers. The small calyx is green, purple, or brown, and has 5 shallow lobes that are well-rounded. It is persistent and slightly pubescent. The blooming period usually occurs during the summer and lasts 2-3 months. There is no noticeable floral scent. Each flower is replaced by a shiny little fruit that is oval in shape and about ¼" long. Each fruit is initially green, but later turns yellow or orange, and finally becomes bright red. The fruit is juicy and contains yellow seeds that are circular in shape and flat-sided. The root system produces abundant rhizomes that become somewhat woody with age. This plant often forms sprawling vegetative colonies.
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Amara-Dulcis

Considering diverse shires in this nation give divers names of one and the same herb, and that common name which it bears in once ounty, is not known known in another; I shall take the pains to set down all the names that I know of each herb. Pardon me for setting that name first which is most common to myself; besides amara-dulcis, some call it morral, others bitter-sweet, some woody-nightshade, and others felon-wort.

DESCRIPTION. It grows up with woody stalks even to a man's height, and sometimes higher: the leaves fall off at the approach of winter, and spring out of the same stark again at spring time; the bracnh in encompassed about with a whitish bark, and hath a peth in the middle of it; the main branch brncheth itself out into many small ones, with clasper, layinghold on what is next to them, as cines do; it bears many leaves, they grow in no order at all, or at leastwise in not vulgar order; the leaves are longith, thought somewhat broad and pointed at the ends; manz of them have two little leaves growing at the end of their goot taslk, some of them have but one, and some none; the leavesare of a pale green colour; the flowers are of a purple colour, or aof a perfect blue, lile a violets, and they stand many of them together in knots; the berries are green at the first, but when they are ripe, they are very red; if you tastte them, you shall find them just as the crabs which we in Sussex call bitter-sweet, viz. sweet at first, and bitter afterwards.

PLACE . They grow commonly almost throughout England, especially in moist and shady places.

TIME. The leaves shoot out about the latter end of March; if the temperature of the air be ordinary, it flowereth in July, and the seeds are ripe soon after, usually in the next month.

GOVERNMENT AND VIRTUES. It is under the planet Mercury, and a notable herb of his also, if it be rightly gathered under his influence: It is excellent good to remove withcraft, both in men and beafts; as also all sudden diseases whatsoever. Being tied about the neck, it is one of the most admirable remedies for the vertigo, of dissiness in the head, and that is the reason (as Tragus saith) the people in Germany commonly hang it about their cattle's neck wehn they fear any such evil hath besided them. Courntry people commonly use to take the berries of it, and having bruised them, they apply them to felons, and thereby soon rid their fingers of such troublsome guests.

We have now shewed you the the external use of the herb, we shall speak a word or two of the internal, and so conclude. Take notice, that it is a mercurial herb, and therefore of very subtle parts, as indeed all mercurial plants are; therefore take a pound of the wood and leaves together, bruise the wood, (which you may easily do, for it is not so hard as oak) then put it in a pot, and put to it three pints of white wine, put on the pot lid, and shut it close, then let it infuse hot over the gentle fire twelve hours, then strain it out, so you have a most excellent drink to open abstructions of the live and spleen, to help difficulty of breath, bruises, and falls, and congealed blood in any part of the body, to help the yellow jaundice, the dropsy, and black jaundice, and to cleanse women newly brought to bed. You may drink a quarter of a pint of the infusion every morning; it purgeth the body very gently, and not churlishly as some hold. And when you find good by this, remeber me.

  • Culpeper Nicholas (1654): Amara-Dulcis. In: Culpeper's English physician; and complete herbal. London: Printed by the author, 49-50: 49-50, URL:https://archive.org/details/culpeppersenglis00culp
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Plazi

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Description

 Herbaceous or woody vine, above ground stems trailing to 8–10 m long and with spreading or creeping underground stems. Stems very rarely glabrous, more often pubescent with simple uniseriate or dendritic trichomes with short branches, or a mixture of the two types, these often tangled, 4–8-celled, to 1.5 mm long, usually white, pubescence density extremely variable; new growth usually white pubescent. Bark of older stems grey to yellowish grey. Sympodial units plurifoliate. Leaves simple to ternately pinnatifid, extremely variable in shape and size, even along a single stem, 2.5–7 cm long, 1.2–6 cm wide, elliptic or ovate to cordate in outline, membraneous, the upper surfaces glabrous to moderately pubescent with simple uniseriate or dendritic trichomes to 1.5 mm long on the veins and lamina, the lower surfaces sparsely to densely pubescent with trichomes like those of the upper surfaces, but usually denser; primary veins 6–9 pairs, usually pubescent; base truncate or cordate; margins entire or the leaves lobed, the lobes most commonly 2, rarely more, basal, narrowing near the sinuses; apex acute to acuminate; petiole 0.5–2 (+) cm long, pubescent like the stems. Inflorescences terminal or lateral, not leaf-opposed, (1-)4–15 cm long, many times branched, with up to 40 flowers, only a few open at a time, glabrous to moderately pubescent, the rachis often purplish in hue; peduncle (0.5-)1–7 cm long; pedicels 6–12 mm long at anthesis, ca. 1 mm in diameter, slender, spreading, often purplish green, glabrous to sparsely pubescent with simple unieriate or more rarely dendritic trichomes to 0.5 mm long, articulate at the base in a small sleeve leaving a prominent swollen peg on the axis; pedicel scars irregularly spaced 1–5 (-10) mm apart, the axis zig-zag. Buds turbinate, the corolla long-exserted from the calyx tube before anthesis. Flowers all perfect, 5-merous. Calyx tube 1–1.5 mm long, broadly conical, the lobes < 0.5 mm long, broadly triangular, glabrous or pubescent with uniseriate white trichomes, the apex pointed, the margins papillate. Corolla 1.5–2 cm in diameter, purple, violet or white, with green and white shiny spots at each lobe base, deeply stellate, lobed 3/4 of the way to the base, the lobes 6–8 mm long, 2.5–3 mm wide, strongly reflexed at anthesis, glabrous or minutely papillate on tips and margins, occasionally densely pubescent with simple uniseriate trichomes abaxially, glabrous adaxially. Filament tube minute, the free portion of the filaments to 0.5 mm long, glabrous; anthers 4.5–6 mm long, ca. 1 mm wide, fused into a single column and tightly connivent, poricidal at the tips, the pores not lengthening to slits with age. Ovary glabrous; style 5–9 mm long, glabrous; stigma minutely capitate, the surface papillose. Fruit a globose to ellipsoid berry, 0.6–1.1 cm long, 0.6–1.5 cm wide, bright red when ripe, the pericarp thin and shiny; fruiting pedicels to 1.3 cm long, 1–1.5 mm in diameter, not markedly woody, spreading. Seeds >30 per berry, ca. 3 mm long, ca. 2 mm wide, flattened reniform, pale yellow or tan, the surfaces minutely pitted, the cells of the testa pentagonal. Chromosome number: n=12 (many counts available at ICPN, http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/ipcn.html)
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Biology

Solanum dulcamara flowers are pollinated by bumblebees.The bees ‘buzz’ the flowers with their indirect flight muscles. This sets up a vibration that sends pollen squirting out onto the body. The pollen is then transferred to other flowers.The buzz is usually quite audible and can be observed in gardens. Bees use the pollen to feed their larvae.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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 (Figure 36). Solanum dulcamara is widely distributed across Eurasia and northern North America, where it is also common; sea level to ca. 2000 m. The North American populations are thought to be introductions, but it is possible that the species has a truly circumboreal distribution.
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More info for the term: nonnative species

Bittersweet nightshade is a nonnative species in North America that has been introduced throughout many parts of Canada and the United States. According to Plants Database, it occurs in all conterminous states except Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina [163]. A single specimen was observed at a residence in Arizona in 1989 [145]. In Canada, bittersweet nightshade occurs in all provinces except Alberta and Manitoba and has not been reported in the northern territories [163]; its northern limit in North America was reported to be near 46°N [152]. In the United States, bittersweet nightshade is reported to be most common in the eastern and north-central United States (review by [164]), and widespread in the upper Great Lakes states (review by [28]) and the Pacific Northwest (reviews by [93,125,126]). Plants Database provides a distributional map of bittersweet nightshade and its varieties in the United States and Canada.

Bittersweet nightshade is native to Europe from central Norway, south to northern Africa, and east and central Asia ([57,74], reviews by [53,183]). As a result of its introduced range, bittersweet nightshade is considered to have a circumpolar distribution [84]. Bittersweet nightshade has also been introduced to Peru [13], New Zealand, and Australia ([87], review by [126]).

Probable causes of bittersweet nightshade introduction to North America are cultivation by early settlers (reviews by [53,117,183]) and agricultural and shipping activities in the Pacific Northwest [51,52]. The earliest reports of bittersweet nightshade's establishment outside of cultivation in North America are from the Great Lakes region, where it occurred by the mid-1800s ([169], Wisconsin State Herbarium 2006 as cited in [126]). Floras and surveys indicate that bittersweet nightshade spread to parts of the eastern and western United States by the early 1900s [73,109,144,175].

  • 73. Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: The Swallow Press, Inc. 666 p. [6851]
  • 28. Czarapata, Elizabeth J. 2005. Invasive plants of the Upper Midwest: An illustrated guide to their identification and control. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 215 p. [71442]
  • 51. Forcella, Frank. 1992. Invasive weeds in the northern Rocky Mountains. Western Wildlands. 18(2): 2-5. [19465]
  • 52. Forcella, Frank; Harvey, Stephen J. 1988. Patterns of weed migration in northwestern U.S.A. Weed Science. 36: 194-201. [4536]
  • 53. Francis, John K. 2004. Solanum dulcamara. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 721-723. [52256]
  • 57. Gauhl, E. 1976. Photosynthetic response to varying light intensity in ecotypes of Solanum dulcamara L. from shaded and exposed habitats. Oecologia. 22(3): 275-286. [72508]
  • 74. Hawkes, J. G.; Lester, R. N.; Skelding, A. D. 1979. The biology and taxonomy of the Solanacea. New York: Academic Press. 738 p. [73668]
  • 84. Hulten, Eric. 1971. The circumpolar plants. II. Dicotyledons. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell. 463 p. [72965]
  • 87. Johnson, P. N. 2001. Vegetation recovery after fire on a southern New Zealand peatland. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 39(2): 251-267. [60981]
  • 109. Mack, R. N. 1986. Alien plant invasion into the Intermountain West: A case history. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Drake, James A., eds. Ecology of biological invasions of North America and Hawaii. Ecological Studies 58. New York: Springer-Verlag: 191-213. [17516]
  • 144. Rydberg, Per Axel. 1906. Flora of Colorado. Bulletin 100. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station. 448 p. [63874]
  • 145. Schaack, Clark G. 1989. Additions to Arizona flora--range extensions of noxious weeds, plant distribution records established by ADOT/USFS and the location for Arizona Lewisia rediviva Pursh. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science. 23: 35-37. [11414]
  • 152. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907]
  • 164. Uva, Richard H.; Neal, Joseph C.; DiTomaso, Joseph M., eds. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. New York: Cornell University Press. 397 p. [72430]
  • 169. Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan flora. Part III: Dicots (Pyrolaceae--Compositae). Bulletin 61. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 622 p. [30401]
  • 175. White, Douglas W.; Stiles, Edmund W. 1992. Bird dispersal of fruits of species introduced into eastern North America. Canadian Journal of Botany. 70: 1689-1696. [19713]
  • 163. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2009. PLANTS Database, [Online]. Available: http://plants.usda.gov/. [34262]
  • 13. Brako, L.; Zarucchi, J. L. 1993. Peru flora checklist, [Online]. In: Tropicos.org. St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden (Producer). Available: http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/peru.html [2009, June 11]. [74813]
  • 93. King County Noxious Weed Control Program. 2007. Best management practices: bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), [Online]. In: Noxious weeds--weed control information. Seattle, WA: King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Water and Land Resources Division, King County Noxious Weed Control Program (Producer). Available: http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/BMPs/bittersweet-nightshade-control.pdf [2009, June 11]. [74812]
  • 117. Mehrhoff, L. J.; Silander, J. A., Jr.; Leicht, S. A.; Mosher, E. S.; Tabak, N. M. 2003. IPANE: Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, [Online]. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Producer). Available: http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/ [2008, May 28]. [70356]
  • 125. Native Plant Society of Oregon, Emerald Chapter. 2008. Exotic gardening and landscaping plants invasive in native habitats of the southern Willamette Valley, [Online]. In: Invasive plants--Invasive exotic plants list 2008. Native Plant Society of Oregon (Producer). Available: http://www.emeraldnpso.org/PDFs/Invas_Orn.pdf [2009, June 24]. [74811]
  • 126. NatureServe. 2009. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life, [Online]. Version 7.0. Arlington, VA: NatureServe (Producer). Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. [69873]
  • 183. Zasada, John C.; Crossley, John A. 2008. Solanum dulcamara L.--bitter nightshade. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., Nisley, Rebecca G., eds. The woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handb. 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 1052-1054. Available online: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Solanum.pdf [2009, June 12]. [74703]

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Solanum dulcamara is native to Europe and is present in 29 countries (Fitter 1994). It has been introduced in the United States and is now growing in 41 states (USDA). Canada, Peru, Australia and New Zealand have also have introduced populations of S. dulcamara (Waggy 2009).

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© Kori May, Oregon State University

Source: BOT 323 Flowering Plants of the World, Oregon State University

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Distribution habitat

Distribution
Solanum dulcamara is widespread throughout Europe, into north Africa and across northern Asia to the northern islands of Japan.It occurs from sea level to almost 2000 metres elevation in the Alps.It is found in the India/Pakistan border region –Kashmir. It also occurs in North America and New Zealand, where it has been introduced from Europe.

Habitat
Solanum dulcamara is normally found in open areas, for example
  • along streams
  • in clearings
  • on sea shores
  • at roadsides
It thrives in disturbed soil and can regenerate from small pieces of stem left in the ground.Seaside forms of S. dulcamara tend to be prostrate - flattened - with small, thick, leathery leaves.Plants growing in swampy places with lots of water have larger leaves, and root along the stems.
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Distribution: Euro-Siberian element, also N. Africa. The Himalaya from Kashmir to Sikkim.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: allelopathy, association, cyme, radicle, shrub, shrubs, vine

This description provides characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [60,64,78,112,122,181].

Above ground: Bittersweet nightshade is a perennial, rhizomatous [60,64,78,101,131] vine or scrambling shrub. Its base is woody, and the aboveground branches are herbaceous and die back each year. Aboveground stems are typically about 10 feet (~3 m) long [60,78,174], sometimes growing as long as 23 feet (~7 m) (review by [53]). Bittersweet nightshade's stems can twine over other plants, trail along the ground, or grow erect (reviews by [126,164]). Its leaves vary from about 2 to almost 5 inches (5-12 cm) long. Its inflorescence is a drooping cyme [64,112,174] or panicle [64,134], typically having 7 or more flowers, sometimes as many as 30 [60,64,134]. Its fruit is a berry, 2 to 8 mm in diameter ([64,112,174], reviews by [66,182]). Bittersweet nightshade seeds are 2 to 3 mm x 1.7 to 2.5 mm and are strongly flattened (reviews by [66,164,183]).

Below ground: Bittersweet nightshade spreads by rhizomes [60,64,78,101,131]. The main root grows horizontally just below the soil surface, sprouts frequently (review by [53]), and can branch 3 to 5 times [18]. Roots of bittersweet nightshade have secondary growth and an epidermis that is protected by a layer of suberin at the root cap. Feeder roots are 100 to 500 µ in diameter and sprout root hairs that grow up to 400 µ [18].

Brundrett and Kendrick [18] determined that the roots of bittersweet nightshade can be colonized by mycorrhizal fungi, albeit poorly, and classified bittersweet nightshade as facultatively mycorrhizal. Species classified as facultatively mycorrhizal may benefit from a mycorrhizal association but are not dependent on it (Janos 1980, cited in [18]).

Population structure: Plants grow singly or in dense patches, often taking advantage of structural support (i.e., trees, shrubs, fences) to reach more light (reviews by [93,164]). Bittersweet nightshade may be a dominant species on some sites ([22,46,137,166], review by [125]), form small, near monocultures (review by [125]), or be locally abundant (review by [126]) in riparian areas and other moist habitats, especially in New England [22,166], the mid-Atlantic states (review by [126]), the Great Lakes states (reviews by [125,126]), and the Pacific Northwest ([46,47], reviews by [125,137,166]).

Allelopathy: Water extract from the foliage of bittersweet nightshade significantly inhibited some aspects of growth in red pine (Pinus resinosa) seedlings, suggesting allelopathic properties. Red pine seedlings treated with the extract exhibited a decrease in the production of secondary needle fascicles and a significant decrease in shoot weight (P<0.05) and radicle elongation (P<0.001) [128]. As of this writing (2009), however, allelopathy in bittersweet nightshade has not been studied in the field.

  • 64. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 18. Brundrett, Mark C.; Kendrick, Bryce. 1988. The mycorrhizal status, root anatomy, and phenology of plants in a sugar maple forest. Canadian Journal of Botany. 66(6): 1153-1173. [14483]
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  • 47. Fierke, Melissa K.; Kauffman, J. Boone. 2006. Riverscape-level patterns of riparian plant diversity along a successional gradient, Willamette River, Oregon. Plant Ecology. 185: 85-95. [63671]
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A scrambling shrub up to 120 cm tall, glabrous to pilose-pubescent. Leaves 3-9 x 1.2-3 cm, ovate, base cordate or 1-4-pinnatipartite. Petiole up to 15 mm long, slender. Peduncle 1-22 (-35) mm long. Flowers violet, 5-10 in number, in extra-axillary paniculate cymes; limb 5-10 mm broad. Calyx ± 2.5 mm long, campanulate; lobes acute, pubescent. Corolla lobes 2-3 mm lonng, recurved, with munutely pubescent tips. Anthers 2.5-4 mm long, yellow; filaments less than 1 mm long, glabrous. Ovary glabrous. Berry flame-red, ± ovoid, 8-10 mm broad. Seeds subangled, ± 2.5 mm broad, minutely reticulate.
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Vines perennial, herbaceous, unarmed, glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Leaves unequal paired, sometimes compound with 1 or 2 pairs of leaflets proximal to main leaflet; petiole 1-2 cm; leaf blade elliptic or ovate-hastate, 4-11 × 2-8 cm, sparsely pubescent, base hastate or with 1 or rarely 2 lobes, margin entire, apex acuminate. Inflorescences extra-axillary, lax, open, many-flowered panicles; peduncle 1-3 cm, branched. Pedicel 5-12 mm, sparsely pubescent. Calyx 1.5-2 × 2-3 mm; lobes deltate, sparsely pubescent. Corolla purple, usually with a yellow eye, 5-8 mm; lobes elliptic-lanceolate, ca. 5 mm. Filaments ca. 0.5 mm; anthers connate, 2-3.5 mm. Style slender, ca. 5.5 mm. Berry red, globose or ovoid, 6-8 mm in diam. Seeds discoid, 1.5-2 mm in diam. Fl. summer, fr. autumn.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: cover, mesic, natural, organic soils, presence, series, shrub, swamp, tree, tussock

General Climate: Bittersweet nightshade occurs in areas with a mean July temperature of about 72 °F (22 °C) [3,23,85], but it and can also establish in areas with warmer subtropical climates like Florida [181] that experience average July temperatures around 81°F (27 °C) [179]. Bittersweet nightshade tolerates dormant-season temperatures below freezing ([3,23,85], review by [53]). It commonly occurs in regions of North America that receive moderate annual precipitation from about 32 to 45 inches (810-1,140 mm) [34,85] but also occurs in subtropical climates and in maritime-influenced regions of the Pacific Northwest, where annual precipitation is greater [179]. Bittersweet nightshade also occurs in semi-arid climates of the Pacific Northwest [23,137], where annual precipitation can be as low as 9.6 inches (244 mm) [23].

Habitat and moisture: Bittersweet nightshade commonly occurs in habitats associated with water, such as riparian areas [23,32,46,71,79,113,121], marshes [30,89,112,122,148,169], wetlands [4,41,63,67,83,123,166], lake shores ([112], review by [53]), forested freshwater dune barriers [10], pond edges [45,169], and canal banks [174]. Bittersweet nightshade also occurs in moist thickets [64,78,122,169,178], mesic deciduous woods [45,85,99,169], and clearings [60,78,91,169]. In eastern and Great Lakes states, sparse amounts of bittersweet nightshade occasionally occur in open habitats such as remnant prairie and grasslands [7,167], moist savanna [12,122], and mesic tussock meadow [26].

Bittersweet nightshade appears to be most abundant in riparian habitats. In western New York, bittersweet nightshade was a subdominant species in swampy woodland and its edges [166]. Along the Snake River in Idaho, bittersweet nightshade was present in 60% of sampled sites (n=40) [32]. Bittersweet nightshade occurred in 82% of the 28 black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera var. trichocarpa)-dominated riparian forests sampled along the Willamette River in Oregon [46]. In western Montana, bittersweet nightshade was one of the most abundant plants (0.1-2.0% average cover) observed along a portion of Rattlesnake Creek that had been invaded by Norway maple. It was more abundant on sites where Norway maple cover was relatively low and species diversity was greater [137].

Available literature from North America indicates that bittersweet nightshade can tolerate some flooding and sites inundated with water [3,45,63,71]. The national wetland indicator status for bittersweet nightshade in most regions where it occurs in the United States is "Facultative", indicating that it has an estimated 34% to 66% probability of occurring in a wetland, and is just as likely to occur in a wetland as a non-wetland. In north-central states such as North Dakota, South Dakota, and eastern Montana, bittersweet nightshade usually occurs in non-wetland sites and only has a 1% to 33% chance of occurring in a wetland [163]. In Pennsylvania, bittersweet nightshade occurred in 2.1% of plots that were infrequently flooded but did not occur in plots with frequent to moderate flooding [71]. In another study in Pennsylvania, bittersweet nightshade was strongly associated with the presence of seasonal surface water in relatively undisturbed wetlands [63]. Bittersweet nightshade occurred in and near a series of ponds located in 2 lowland deciduous forest woodlots in Ontario, Canada. It commonly occurred in continually flooded areas and the surrounding forest and was considered to be a wet-mesic species in temporarily flooded areas [45]. In Massachusetts, bittersweet nightshade was found growing in over 1.5 feet (0.5 m) of standing water in a shrub swamp associated with a small stream [3]. One floristic survey from Fire Island Seashore National Park in New York described bittersweet nightshade as favoring dry disturbed sites [34], suggesting that bittersweet nightshade may also tolerate dry conditions.

In its native range, bittersweet nightshade is associated with a wide range of habitats [14,57]; however, it maintains a strong affiliation with wet and waterlogged habitats such as seashores, river banks, floodplains, swamps, canals, ditches, mires, damp woods ([43,131], review by [55]), and marshes [14,57,58]. In Europe it is considered a species characteristic of alder fens that occupy "extremely wet ground" where most deciduous woodland plants cannot survive [43], and it is an indicator species of moist to waterlogged habitats that may be inundated throughout the year ([43], Ellenberg 1979 as cited in [131]). It occurs in coastal dunes [9,57], thickets, forest edges, forest clearings, hedgerows, and "waste ground" [131]. It can also occur on dry sites within portions of its native range [58,86]. In central Germany, bittersweet nightshade occurred on open, fully exposed locations in low-growing, xerophytic shrublands [58]. A small amount of bittersweet nightshade was also found growing on a sparsely vegetated magnesium limestone cliff face in Sheffield, England [86].

Disturbance: In North America, bittersweet nightshade appears to prefer sites where the natural vegetation has been altered, such as human developments, roadsides, fence rows, gardens, airstrips, and around buildings [7,34,91,112,130,134,155,167,169,174,181]. Undeveloped sites are also susceptible to invasion by bittersweet nightshade, but its occurrence on these sites is typically associated with disturbance ([130], reviews by [28,117,126]). In southern Manitoba, bittersweet nightshade was considered an indicator of disturbance (e.g., social trails, garbage) in an urban riparian forest along the Assiniboine River [120,121]. Its occurrence in wetlands is often associated with some type of disturbance or water level change such as a dike [77], an abandoned limestone quarry [4], or an abandoned municipal dump [140]. Ongoing or previous grazing has also been associated with bittersweet nightshade occurrence [23,32,105].

Bittersweet nightshade may occasionally establish in undeveloped, relatively undisturbed native plant communities ([35,130,136,157], reviews by [28,93,126]). A review by NatureServe [126] suggests that riparian areas, wetlands, deciduous forests, and grasslands may be at risk from invasion by bittersweet nightshade. Invasive plant surveys from Wisconsin indicated that, although bittersweet nightshade may be more commonly associated with disturbance, it occasionally occurs in wetlands, forests, and grasslands on sites where the ground has not been recently disturbed [136]. Field observation in Illinois occassionally found bittersweet nightshade in native plant communities with relatively little disturbance [157]. In Washington, bittersweet nightshade can occur in relatively undisturbed riparian areas and wetlands (review by [93]). An analysis by Parks and others [130] indicated that most vegetation cover types common to the mountain ecoregions of the northwestern United States are susceptible to invasion by bittersweet nightshade when the vegetation is disturbed, but bittersweet nightshade may invade riparian areas in the absence of disturbance.

Elevation: Information pertaining to bittersweet nightshade's elevational range is patchy. Information from a few regional floras and publications suggests it occurs in a wide range of elevations, from near sea-level along the coasts to over 7,000 feet (2,134 m) in the western United States ([7,16,71,85,91,130,145,174], review by [133]). Available information suggests that bittersweet nightshade occurs at higher elevations in its native range [2,74,84,180].

Reported elevational ranges for bittersweet nightshade
North America
Location Elevation
Arizona 6,900 feet (2,103 m) [145]
Idaho 2,723 to 3,018 feet (830-930 m) [16]
Minnesota 1,600 feet (490 m) [7]
New England 5 to >1,000 feet (1.5-305 m) (review by [117])
New York 460 to 690 feet (140-210 m) [85]
Nevada 4,000 to 4,600 feet (1,219-1,402 m) [91]
North Carolina, Craggy Mountains* 2,395 to 6,684 feet (730-2,037 m) [114]
Pennsylvania 985 to 1,312 feet (300-400 m) [71]
Utah 4,364 to 7,119 feet (1,330 - 2,170 m) [174]
Northwestern mountain states ** all elevations [130]
Pacific Northwest, coast low elevations (review by [133])
Other Countries
Alps 5,577 feet (1,700 m) [84]
China 1,640 to 11,483 feet (500 - 3,500 m) [180]
India and Pakistan 3,937 to 9,186 feet (1,200 - 2,800 m) [2,74]
*The base-level for most streams in the Craggy Mountains is 3,690 feet (1,100 m) and is the habitat where bittersweet nightshade would likely occur [114].
**Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana [130].

Substrate: Bittersweet nightshade occurs in a variety of soil types and textures [26,27,30,41,45,105,121,137,150]. Bittersweet nightshade commonly occurred on Penobscot Bay in Maine, in shallow soils consisting mostly of humus [22]. In New Jersey, bittersweet nightshade was more likely to occur on sites with higher percentages of sand [41]. In Montana, bittersweet nightshade commonly occurred in a riparian deciduous forest characterized by deep, well drained, gravelly loam (Anonymous 1995, cited in [137]). A review [55] indicated that in Europe, bittersweet nightshade occurs in rich loam and clay.

Bittersweet nightshade occurs on sites with a range of soil pH. Studies from Illinois [4], Wisconsin [26], Manitoba [121], and Idaho [32] report the occurrence of bittersweet nightshade on soils with pH ranging from 7.2 to 8.29. In a riparian area along the Snake River in Idaho, bittersweet nightshade was a dominant species and was most common near seeps with average pH of 8.27 [32]. Additional information suggests that bittersweet nightshade can tolerate lower pH. In New York [83] and Ontario [30,45], bittersweet nightshade occurred on sites with soil pH ranging from 5.2 to 7.2. A review grouped bittersweet nightshade with plants considered "alka-tolerant". Species in this group required pH ranges above 4.8 to 5.2 and were tolerant of pH levels as high as 7.9 to 9 [149].

Bittersweet nightshade may prefer soils rich in nitrogen. On the Snake River in Idaho, bittersweet nightshade was most dominant on sites associated with relatively high average nitrate levels (39.54 ± 8.32 ppm) [32]. One study from Massachusetts found bittersweet nightshade to be an indicator of low carbon to nitrogen ratios in the soil following high intensity tree harvesting [115]. In Europe, bittersweet nightshade is typically found in basic soils on sites rich in nitrates such as floodplains and thickets [43]. In the Netherlands, bittersweet nightshade is found in a range of substrates, from mineral soils to organic soils (peat) rich in nitrogen (Ellenberg 1979 cited in [131]).
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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: bog, cover, density, fen, forbs, fuel, invasive species, marsh, mesic, shrubs, tussock

Although bittersweet nightshade has not been studied in North America for its associated
plant communities, a sufficient amount of incidental information is available to provide
a broad description of its typical associates in North America. Throughout its introduced
range, bittersweet nightshade most frequently occurs in riparian areas, wetlands, and
deciduous forests, but occasionally occurs in open habitats such as grasslands and meadows
in the Great Lakes region. It typically occurs as a minor component in most plant communities
but may be relatively abundant in riparian areas. Bittersweet nightshade's occurrence is
often associated with previous or ongoing anthropogenic disturbance.
Eastern North America and Great Lakes region:
In eastern North America and the Great Lakes region, including southern Ontario, bittersweet
nightshade is often associated with riparian and deciduous forests. Riparian communities in
these areas are often characterized by maple (Acer spp.) overstories with a mix of
other deciduous trees such as pin oak (Quercus palustris), ash (Fraxinus spp.),
cherry (Prunus spp.), basswood (Tilia americana), or American elm
(Ulmus americana) [3,27,45,71,79,83,116,121,157,166]. Bittersweet nightshade also
occurs on sites dominated by eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) [116]
that may contain a mix of sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and American elm [83].
Bittersweet nightshade occurs in upland mesic deciduous forests with a similar composition of
overstory species and with other deciduous trees that may be more characteristic of mesic sites
such as American beech (Fagus grandifolia), northern red oak (Quercus rubra),
and slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) [10,11,27,35,45,85].
In one study, bittersweet nightshade commonly occurred in an eastern hemlock- (Tsuga canadensis)
dominated forest [83], and it may occur in coniferous forests dominated by northern whitecedar
(Thuja occidentalis) in Canada [11,35].
Bittersweet nightshade also occurs in open plant communities in eastern North America and the
Great Lakes region. It occurs in a variety of wetland plant communities often dominated by cattail
(Typha spp.) [3,4,67,77,157,165],
sedge (Carex spp.) [26,157,165],
Olney threesquare (Scirpus americanus) [30], or alder (Alnus spp.) [3,83].
It occurs in wetlands with other nonnative or invasive species such as purple loosestrife
(Lythrum salicaria) [3,30,67,77,129]
and reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) [3,77,148].
In the Great Lakes region, bittersweet nightshade occurs in a number of characteristically open
plant communities. In northern Illinois bittersweet nightshade occurs in calcareous wet places
with yellow marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), common boneset (Eupatorium
perfoliatum), field horsetail (Equisetum arvense), and other species associated
with this type of habitat. In southeastern Wisconsin, it occurred in mesic tussock sedge
(Carex stricta) meadows [26]. In southeastern Minnesota, bittersweet nightshade
was more often associated with wetlands with low plant density and tall vegetation. It was
also more commonly associated with wetlands characterized by narrow-leaf cattail than those
characterized by purple loosestrife [67]. In northern Illinois and east-central
Minnesota, bittersweet nightshade occurred with bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and
northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis) in a remnant oak savanna [12]
and in an oak forest where fire had been reintroduced over the last 20 years in an attempt
to restore the site to a savanna [160]. At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore it occurred
in an oak savanna with black oak (Quercus velutina) along with a rich understory of
forbs and abundant grasses [107].
Western North America: Information
pertaining to bittersweet nightshade's occurrence in western North America comes primarily
from the northwestern United States. Bittersweet nightshade occurs in riparian areas
([46,47,101,112,137], reviews by [93,125])
and is most commonly associated with cottonwood (Populus spp.) [23,46,47],
native willow (Salix spp.), and alder [16,23,32,68].
It often occurs on disturbed sites with other nonnative or invasive species including
eggleaf spurge (Euphorbia oblongata), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense),
common St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum), Himalayan blackberry
(Rubus discolor) [68], Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), tamarisk
(Tamarix spp.) [16,32], and reed canarygrass [46,47].
In western Montana, bittersweet nightshade was one of the 15 most abundant plants
(0.1% - 2.0% average cover) in a riparian area invaded by Norway maple (Acer
platanoides) [137].
As of 2009, little published information is available regarding bittersweet nightshade's
distribution in western North America outside riparian areas. One study in California found
bittersweet nightshade on 1 plot (n=1,543) on a fuel break in an oak woodland [118].
Native range: Information pertaining
to bittersweet nightshade's associates in its native range comes primarily from the United Kingdom,
where it occurs in open woodlands or shrublands that are often associated with moist environments.
Bittersweet nightshade occurs on maritime-influenced sand dunes dominated by willows and other
shrubs where it comprises 1% to 40% of the vegetation cover. In one sand dune community characterized
by stinging nettle (Urtica dioecious), bittersweet nightshade cover can range between 41%
and 60%. In open habitats prone to weed invasion, bittersweet nightshade cover can range from 41% to
60%, and it is most common on sites characterized by common reed (Phragmites australis) [57,143].
It commonly occurs in willow and alder thickets and reaches its greatest cover (61% to 80%) in an
alder woodland community characterized by common reed [141]. Bittersweet nightshade occurs in a rush-
(Juncus spp.) dominated meadow fen where it can comprise 1% to 20% of the vegetation cover [142].
In England, bittersweet nightshade commonly occurs in woodlands dominated by birch (Betula spp.),
glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus), willow, viburnum (Viburnum spp.), ash, pine,
and oak [61]. In early successional European beechwood (Fagus sylvatica) communities it
occurs in scrubland dominated by hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) and cherry, and with common
juniper (Juniperus communis spp.) and English yew (Taxus baccata) on calcareous soils
and exposed sites [171]. In central Europe, bittersweet nightshade occurs in floodplain habitats
dominated by willow, cottonwood, elm, oak, and alder [37,43,57].
In Hungary, bittersweet nightshade occurs in marshes, fens, and other types of wetlands
(Soo 1968 cited in [14]). In parts of Germany, bittersweet nightshade occurs in scrubland and
woodland [58,76,96].
Other: In New Zealand, bittersweet nightshade
occurred after fire in a dry, gorse- (Ulex europaeus) dominated bog [87].
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Solanum dulcamara can thrive in a wide range of light intensities and moisture levels (Clough 1979). It is a terrestrial plant that grows in deciduous forests, wetlands and riparian areas (Waggy 2009). While it prefers moist thickets, it can be found by roadsides, fences, pond sides, backyards, and vacant areas (Polunin 1985).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Kori May, Oregon State University

Source: BOT 323 Flowering Plants of the World, Oregon State University

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Habitat & Distribution

Slopes at forest edges; 500-3500. Henan, SW Sichuan, Xinjiang, SE Xizang, NW Yunnan [Russia; SW Asia, Europe]
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are subjected to "buzz pollination" by bumblebees. This involves the rapid vibration of the thoracic muscles to release the pollen, which is the only reward of the flowers. The foliage of this plant is toxic and unpleasant tasting, therefore it is rarely bothered by mammalian herbivores. The bright red fruit, however, is eaten by small mammals to a limited extent, including the Raccoon, Striped Skunk, and Pocket Gopher. Some upland gamebirds, songbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds also eat the fruit (see Bird Table). The seeds remain undamaged and are distributed far and wide by these animals. Because the fruit can be toxic to humans and colorful in appearance, children should be warned not to eat it. Photographic Location
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Flower-Visiting Insects of Bittersweet Nightshade in Illinois

Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet Nightshade) introduced
(bees collect pollen through buzz-pollination; observations are from Macior)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus affinis cp (Mc), Bombus bimaculatus cp (Mc), Bombus griseocollis cp (Mc), Bombus impatiens cp fq (Mc)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochloropsis metallica fulgida cp fq (Mc), Lasioglossum forbesii cp fq (Mc)

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / spot causer
epiphyllous, scattered, clear-brown with concolourour pore pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta solanicola causes spots on live leaf of Solanum dulcamara

Foodplant / saprobe
subiculate dematiaceus anamorph of Cucurbitaria dulcamarae is saprobic on dead stem of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 10

Foodplant / saprobe
gregarious, subepidermal, pustular, finally bursting through pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Diaporthe dulcamarae is saprobic on dead, dry stem of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 5

Foodplant / open feeder
imago of Epitrix pubescens grazes on leaf of Solanum dulcamara

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Helminthosporium dematiaceous anamorph of Helminthosporium solani is saprobic on dead stem of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 9-2

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Lilioceris lilii grazes on live leaf of Solanum dulcamara
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
sessile apothecium of Mollisia fuscostriata is saprobic on dead stem of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 5-8
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
imago of Ochrosis ventralis grazes on leaf of Solanum dulcamara

Foodplant / shot hole causer
in spot centre pycnidium of Phyllosticta coelomycetous anamorph of Phyllosticta hortorum causes shot holes on fading leaf of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 9

Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Phytophthora infestans causes spots on live leaf of Solanum dulcamara

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Pria dulcamarae feeds on Solanum dulcamara

Foodplant / saprobe
subcuticular to erumpent conidioma of Pseudolachnea coelomycetous anamorph of Pseudolachnea hispidula is saprobic on dead stem of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: esp. Winter

Foodplant / open feeder
imago of Psylliodes affinis grazes on leaf of Solanum dulcamara

Foodplant / open feeder
imago of Psylliodes dulcamarae grazes on leaf of Solanum dulcamara

Foodplant / spot causer
epiphyllous, crowded, clear brown with darker pore pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria dulcamarae causes spots on fading leaf of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 10-11

Foodplant / feeds on
more or less gregarious but not crowded, immersed, blackish pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria solanicola feeds on stem of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 7

Foodplant / saprobe
verruciform, pycnidial stroma of Stagonostroma coelomycetous anamorph of Stagonostroma dulcamarae is saprobic on dead, dry stem of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 6

Plant / resting place / within
larva of Thrips inopinatus may be found in live flower of Solanum dulcamara
Remarks: season: 7

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: fire exclusion, fire frequency, fire management, fire suppression, fire-return interval, frequency, fuel, nonnative species, prescribed fire

Potential for postfire establishment and spread: As of this writing (2009), bittersweet nightshade had not been studied from a fire management perspective. Fire may hinder its ability to regenerate vegetatively, but its ability to establish on open, disturbed sites (see Successional status) from off-site seed sources suggests that fire could create favorable conditions for bittersweet nightshade establishment. However, frugivorous birds typically prefer woody vegetation for perching [98,150], so for sites where trees and other woody vegetation have been severely damaged by fire, mammals may be the main vector for bittersweet nightshade seed dispersal [96].

Use of prescribed fire as a control agent: Information pertaining to the use of fire as a control for bittersweet nightshade is limited. One study suggested that increased fire frequency might help to control nonnative species on a site where bittersweet nightshade occurred [12]. Thirty years of fire exclusion in a remnant oak savanna in Illinois had altered community structure from an open-canopy savanna with few canopy trees, toward a closed-canopy forest with few gaps. Bittersweet nightshade occurred in the savanna, primarily under canopy trees (see Successional status), and was one of a few dominant nonnative species on this site. Based on the negative relationship observed between increases in light and nonnative species richness, the authors suggested that restoring light levels to the site by increasing fire frequency may reduce nonnative species richness on this site. The authors cautioned, however, that prescribed fire alone may not permanently reduce nonnative species because some may sprout after fire or respond favorably to increased light; subsequent herbicide applications may be necessary (see Impacts and control). The authors also indicated that more information on the ground-layer vegetation and its response to light gradients was needed before prescribed fire could be considered as a management option in the savanna [12].

Another study from east-central Minnesota used prescribed fire over a 20-year period in an attempt to restore oak savanna on a site that had transitioned to oak forest as a result of fire exclusion [160]. Fire was reintroduced to 9 sites at varying return intervals ranging from about once a year to once every 10 years. Bittersweet nightshade was one of 113 plant species that occurred in the study area 20 years after prescribed fire was introduced, suggesting fire may not prevent its occurrence. However, information pertaining to its prefire occurrence and its postfire abundance is lacking, making it difficult to determine its relationship to fire. Additionally, it is unclear if bittersweet nightshade occurred on sites burned frequently, on sites burned every 10 years, or in unburned sites used as a control [160], making it difficult to infer how fire-return interval might influence its populations.

Fire suppression and disturbance: Fire prevention and suppression techniques often disturb soil and vegetation on unburned sites and could provide opportunity for bittersweet nightshade establishment. In California, a small amount of bittersweet nightshade established in one plot (n>1000) on areas cleared for a fuel break [118].

For general recommendations on preventing establishment and spread of invasive plants during fire suppression activities or after wild or prescribed fire, see the following publications: [6,15,62,162].

  • 15. Brooks, Matthew L. 2008. Effects of fire suppression and postfire management activities on plant invasions. In: Zouhar, Kristin; Smith, Jane Kapler; Sutherland, Steve; Brooks, Matthew L., eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Fire and nonnative invasive plants. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 6. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 269-280. [70909]
  • 6. Asher, Jerry; Dewey, Steven; Olivarez, Jim; Johnson, Curt. 1998. Minimizing weed spread following wildland fires. Proceedings, Western Society of Weed Science. 51: 49. [40409]
  • 12. Bowles, Marlin L.; McBride, Jenny L. 1998. Vegetation composition, structure, and chronological change in a decadent midwestern North American savanna remnant. Natural Areas Journal. 18(1): 14-27. [27556]
  • 96. Kollmann, Johannes. 1995. Regeneration window for fleshy-fruited plants during scrub development on abandoned grassland. Ecoscience. 2(3): 213-222. [69004]
  • 98. Kollmann, Johannes; Pirl, Michael. 1995. Spatial pattern of seed rain of fleshy-fruited plants in a scrubland-grassland transition. Acta-Oecologica. 16(3): 313-329. [71370]
  • 118. Merriam, Kyle E.; Keeley, Jon E.; Beyers, Jan L. 2006. Fuel breaks affect nonnative species abundance in Californian plant communities. Ecological Applications. 16(2): 515-527. [62280]
  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]
  • 160. Tester, John R. 1989. Effects of fire frequency on oak savanna in east-central Minnesota. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 116(2): 134-144. [9281]
  • 62. Goodwin, Kim; Sheley, Roger; Clark, Janet. 2002. Integrated noxious weed management after wildfires. EB-160. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University, Extension Service. 46 p. Available online: http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/eb160.html [2003, October 1]. [45303]
  • 162. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 2001. Guide to noxious weed prevention practices. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 25 p. Available online: http://www.fs.fed.us/rangelands/ftp/invasives/documents/GuidetoNoxWeedPrevPractices_07052001.pdf [2005, October 25]. [37889]

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Fire Regimes

More info for the terms: fire regime, fuel, fuel moisture, natural, wildfire

Bittersweet nightshade's shade tolerance and preference for moist habitats suggest that it may persist in habitats associated with long fire-return intervals. Available literature suggests that in North America, bittersweet nightshade is most common in riparian areas in the eastern, Great Lakes, mid-Atlantic and northwest regions of the United States (see Habitat types and plant communities). Few studies have investigated the behavior, properties, and influence of wildfire in riparian areas. However, riparian forests generally have more available moisture and may differ in understory vegetation, fuel loads, and fuel moisture from adjacent uplands. In these communities, fire typically has longer return intervals and is less severe than in adjacent uplands, especially in the moist forest types [36] where bittersweet nightshade typically occurs.

Bittersweet nightshade is commonly found in moist deciduous forests in the eastern, mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes regions of the United States. Although stand-replacing disturbances are more often caused by other natural events (e.g., hurricanes, ice storms) than fire in these areas, fire has likely played a role in shaping the structure and composition of the vegetation [185]. Deciduous forests in these regions typically have long fire-return intervals, estimated at several hundred to greater than 1,000 years for mixed-severity or stand-replacement fires and somewhat more frequent for low-severity or surface fires (see the Fire Regime Table).

Although bittersweet nightshade often occurs in vegetation communities associated with relatively long fire-return intervals, it can occur in communities characterized by frequent fire-return intervals, such as oak savanna. Return intervals for stand-replacement fires in oak savannas in the Great Lakes region range from about 50 to 500 years, and return-intervals for surface or low-severity fires range from about 1 to 20 years with an average return interval of 5 years (see the Fire Regime Table).

Bittersweet nightshade occurs in various types of wetlands, most commonly marshes. Fire is important to the maintenance and development of some wetland communities [56,132,173], and fire-return intervals may be relatively short for marshes. FIRE REGIMES for marshes in the Northeast, Southeast, and Northwest may be characterized by high-severity, stand-replacement fires at intervals of 10 years or less (Fire Regime Table).

The Fire Regime Table summarizes characteristics of fire regimes for vegetation communities in which bittersweet nightshade may occur.

Although bittersweet nightshade has not been studied for its potential to alter FIRE REGIMES, it is conceivable that bittersweet nightshade could alter fuel characteristics and impact FIRE REGIMES especially in riparian areas where it forms near-monocultures.

  • 36. Dwire, Kathleen A.; Kauffman, J. Boone. 2003. Fire and riparian ecosystems in landscapes of the western USA. In: Young, Michael K.; Gresswell, Robert E.; Luce, Charles H., eds. Selected papers from an international symposium on effects of wildland fire on aquatic ecosystems in the western USA; 2002 April 22-24; Boise, ID. In: Forest Ecology and Management. Special Issue: The effects of wildland fire on aquatic ecosystems in the western USA. New York: Elsevier Science B. V; 178(1-2): 61-74. [44923]
  • 56. Garren, Kenneth H. 1943. Effects of fire on vegetation of the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 9: 617-654. [9517]
  • 132. Penfound, W. T.; Hathaway, Edward S. 1938. Plant communities in the marshlands of southeastern Louisiana. Ecological Monographs. 8(1): 3-56. [15089]
  • 173. Wells, B. W. 1942. Ecological problems of the southeastern United States coastal plain. The Botanical Review. 8(8): 533-561. [41623]
  • 185. Zouhar, Kristin; Smith, Jane Kapler; Sutherland, Steve; Brooks, Matthew L. 2008. Wildland fire in ecosystems: fire and nonnative invasive plants. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 6. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 355 p. [70897]

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Fuels

More info for the terms: fuel, invasive species, ladder fuels, nonnative species, vines

As of this writing (2009), information pertaining to bittersweet nightshade's fuel characteristics is limited. In the laboratory, bittersweet nightshade was one of numerous native and nonnative species collected from eastern and mid-Atlantic states that were tested for their combustibility in a cone calorimeter. Based on mean average effective heat of combustion (AEHOC) and mean total heat released (THR), bittersweet nightshade was slightly less combustible than other species tested and did not have any notable combustion characteristics with one exception: peak heat release rate (PHRR) in bittersweet nightshade appeared to increase with the thickness of the material being burned, suggesting that dense patches of bittersweet nightshade might combust more rapidly than small patches or individual plants.

A comparison of combustion properties of select noninvasive and invasive species from eastern and mid-Atlantic states with that of bittersweet nightshade [31]
  Average effective heat of combustion (MJ/kg) Mean total heat released (MJ/kg)
Noninvasive species overall 13.49 12.2
Invasive species overall 13.01 11.72
Bittersweet nightshade 12.29 10.57

The authors speculated that climbing vines like bittersweet nightshade could potentially alter fire behavior by forming ladder fuels [31]. Annual stem growth that dies back each year contributes to the fuel load, and on sites where bittersweet nightshade is abundant or has formed near-monocultures (see Population structure), this contribution may be substantial.

  • 31. Dibble, Alison C.; White, Robert H.; Lebow, Patricia K. 2007. Combustion characteristics of north-eastern USA vegetation tested in the cone calorimeter: invasive versus non-invasive plants. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 16(4): 426-443. [68947]

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Fuels and Fire Regimes

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: bog, cover, fire management, frequency, mesic, natural, series, shrub, stem exclusion stage, succession, wildfire

Researchers in the field have observed bittersweet nightshade in various successional stages [5,12,46,87,123] and in a wide range of light levels [24,57,58], suggesting that it may establish and persist in a range of successional stages, from early to late succession. It may, however, fail to adapt to rapid increases in light where it is established in shade; rapid canopy removal may lower its productivity and inhibit its growth [57,92].

Shade tolerance: Bittersweet nightshade occurs in habitats ranging from full sun to deep shade in both its native European [57,58] and nonnative North American ranges [24]. Research has been conducted (see Plant growth and physiology) to determine if bittersweet nightshade's ability to grow in a full range of sun and shade habitats is genetic or phenotypic in origin [24,25,57]. Some evidence indicates that bittersweet nightshade is more likely to persist and spread on open or lightly shaded sites, while other evidence indicates a preference for shade. A review suggests that bittersweet nightshade plants in full sun or light shade produce more flowers and fruit than those in moderate to medium shade [53]. While seedlings of bittersweet nightshade may be shade tolerant and able to survive and grow under a moderate forest canopy ([150], review by [117]), bittersweet nightshade's productivity [24,25] and abundance [5,85] may decline with increased shade on some sites (see Potential successional stages). Conversely, data collected in a moist savanna remnant in Illinois suggest that bittersweet nightshade is more tolerant of shade than full sun in these communities. Bittersweet nightshade frequency was highest (25% and 22.9%) in plots with canopy shade and a mean photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) of approximately 143.1 and 164.7 mol/m²/s, respectively. Bittersweet nightshade frequency was 3.0% on plots with mean PAR of about 490.7 mol/m²/s, and it did not occur in canopy-gaps with a mean PAR of about 826.6 mol/m²/s [12]. Bittersweet nightshade's ability to take advantage of available light through alterations in morphology, biochemistry, and photosynthetic rates may facilitate its ability to grow in shade (see Population structure and Plant growth and physiology).

Potential successional stages: Bittersweet nightshade often occurs on disturbed sites where moisture is adequate (see Site Characteristics) and has been noted in early stages of succession after wildfire in New Zealand [87] and on old fields in the central United States [123]. In New Zealand, where bittersweet nightshade is also nonnative, it established in a shrub bog sometime after wildfire (see Fire adaptations and plant response to fire) [87]. In the central United States, natural revegetation occurred on previously cultivated land in a series of prairie pothole wetlands where the natural hydrological regime had been recently restored. Approximately 3 years after the wetlands were reflooded, bittersweet nightshade occurred on 5 of the 41 sites surveyed [123]. Smith [150] speculated that while bittersweet nightshade may colonize disturbed sites and openings, it may not be a major part of early succession because of its intolerance to drought and the tendency for its branches to die back in winter.

Bittersweet nightshade occurs in forest understories in much of its North American range (see Site Characteristics), including relatively undisturbed forests (e.g., [35,136]) and riparian areas [130], suggesting that it could occur in mid- to late-successional communities. Available evidence suggests, however, that it is more common in earlier stages of forest succession. Bittersweet nightshade is associated with the early-successional scrub stage of beech communities in England that are characteristically open [170]. A study in Norfolk, England found that bittersweet nightshade occurred in open, recently thinned (0-3 years since thinning) deciduous forests and was absent from forests that had not undergone recent thinning (4-33 years since thinning) [5]. In New York, bittersweet nightshade frequency decreased significantly (P<0.025) from 70% to 40% over 60 years in mesic deciduous forests in various successional stages. Although the authors did not speculate as to what caused the decrease in bittersweet nightshade, it did coincide with an increase in canopy cover, particularly of Norway maple [85]. In an urban riparian forest in Manitoba, bittersweet nightshade frequently occurred on shaded sites with approximately 75% canopy cover [121]. Bittersweet nightshade occurred in a remnant oak savanna in Illinois where fire had been excluded for more than 30 years. It was most frequent on sites with low light, and its frequency declined with increased light (see Shade tolerance and Fire management considerations) [12]. A chronosequence study in black cottonwood-dominated stands along the Willamette River in Oregon found that bittersweet nightshade occurred in all successional stages from stand initiation (1 to 5 years) to late seral (45 to >65 years). Bittersweet nightshade was most abundant, however, in the stem exclusion stage (4 to 7 years). In stands where bittersweet nightshade was most abundant, it codominated the riparian plant community, leading researchers to speculate that bittersweet nightshade may threaten successional development in some riparian forests (see Impacts and control) [46].

On sites where bittersweet nightshade is established in the shade, disturbance associated with an increase in irradiance may lower bittersweet nightshade's productivity and inhibit its growth [57,92]. Tolerance of shade-grown bittersweet nightshade to high irradiance may be decreased by even mild water stress [58]. Bittersweet nightshade plants grown in deep shade showed signs of damage on branches when grown at high light intensity in the laboratory [57]. In a greenhouse study, photoinhibition was achieved by transferring bittersweet nightshade plants from shade to 60% sunlight for 2 days. Flushes of nitrogen may offset photoinhibition in bittersweet nightshade; however, if accompanied by water stress, less protection from photoinhibition may be achieved [92].

  • 12. Bowles, Marlin L.; McBride, Jenny L. 1998. Vegetation composition, structure, and chronological change in a decadent midwestern North American savanna remnant. Natural Areas Journal. 18(1): 14-27. [27556]
  • 24. Clough, J. M.; Teeri, J. A.; Alberte, R. S. 1979. Photosynthetic adaptation of Solanum dulcamara L. to sun and shade environments. I. A comparison of sun and shade populations. Oecologia. 38(1): 13-21. [72506]
  • 25. Clough, John M.; Alberte, Randall S.; Teeri, James A. 1979. Photosynthetic adaptation of Solanum dulcamara L. to sun and shade environments. II. Physiological characterization of phenotypic response to environment. Plant Physiology. 64(1): 25-30. [72507]
  • 35. Duguay, Stephanie; Eigenbrod, Felix; Fahrig, Lenore. 2007. Effects of surrounding urbanization on non-native flora in small forest patches. Landscape Ecology. 22: 589-599. [71249]
  • 46. Fierke, Melissa K.; Kauffman, J. Boone. 2006. Invasive species influence riparian plant diversity along a successional gradient, Willamette River, Oregon. Natural Areas Journal. 26(4): 376-382. [65074]
  • 53. Francis, John K. 2004. Solanum dulcamara. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 721-723. [52256]
  • 57. Gauhl, E. 1976. Photosynthetic response to varying light intensity in ecotypes of Solanum dulcamara L. from shaded and exposed habitats. Oecologia. 22(3): 275-286. [72508]
  • 58. Gauhl, Eckard. 1979. Sun and shade ecotypes of Solanum dulcamara L.: photosynthetic light dependence characteristics in relation to mild water stress. Oecologia. 39(1): 61-70. [72546]
  • 85. Hunter, John C.; Mattice, Jennifer A. 2002. The spread of woody exotics into the forests of a northeastern landscape, 1938-1999. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. 129(3): 220-227. [42500]
  • 87. Johnson, P. N. 2001. Vegetation recovery after fire on a southern New Zealand peatland. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 39(2): 251-267. [60981]
  • 121. Moffatt, S. F.; McLachlan, S. M.; Kenkel, N. C. 2004. Impacts of land use on riparian forest along an urban - rural gradient in southern Manitoba. Plant Ecology. 174(1): 119-135. [60572]
  • 123. Mulhouse, John M.; Galatowitsch, Susan M. 2003. Revegetation of prairie pothole wetlands in the mid-continental United States: twelve years post-reflooding. Plant Ecology. 169(2): 143-159. [52957]
  • 130. Parks, Catherine G.; Radosevich, Steven R.; Endress, Bryan A.; Naylor, Bridgett J.; Anzinger, Dawn; Rew, Lisa J.; Maxwell, Bruce D.; Dwire, Kathleen A. 2005. Natural and land-use history of the Northwest mountain ecoregions (USA) in relation to patterns of plant invasions. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 7: 137-158. [70353]
  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]
  • 5. Ash, J. E.; Barkham, J. P. 1976. Changes and variability in the field layer of a coppiced woodland in Norfolk, England. The Journal of Ecology. 64(2): 697-712. [73307]
  • 92. Khanna-Chopra, Renu; Ferrar, Pamela J.; Osmond, Barry. 1987. Interactions between nitrogen nutrition and mild water stress as factors influencing susceptibility to photo-inhibition of cotton and Solanum. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. 14(1): 59-69. [72615]
  • 170. Watt, A. S. 1924. On the ecology of British beechwoods with special reference to their regeneration. Part II. The development and structure of beech communities on the Sussex Downs. Journal of Ecology. 12(2): 145-154. [74172]
  • 117. Mehrhoff, L. J.; Silander, J. A., Jr.; Leicht, S. A.; Mosher, E. S.; Tabak, N. M. 2003. IPANE: Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, [Online]. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Producer). Available: http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/ [2008, May 28]. [70356]
  • 136. Reinartz, James A. 2003. IPAW working list of the invasive plants of Wisconsin--March 2003: a call for comments and information, [Online]. In: Plants out of place: the newsletter of the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin. Issue 4. Madison, WI: Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (Producer). Available: http://www.ipaw.org/newsletters/issue4.pdf [2009, June 26]. [74814]

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Vegetative regeneration

Bittersweet nightshade spreads vegetatively by creeping stems that root at the nodes ([150], reviews by [53,164]) and by rhizomes [60,64,78,101,131]. It sprouts from the base when cut or damaged (review by [53]). Root and stem cuttings can be used for vegetative propagation ([58,89], reviews by [53,183]).
  • 64. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 53. Francis, John K. 2004. Solanum dulcamara. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 721-723. [52256]
  • 58. Gauhl, Eckard. 1979. Sun and shade ecotypes of Solanum dulcamara L.: photosynthetic light dependence characteristics in relation to mild water stress. Oecologia. 39(1): 61-70. [72546]
  • 60. Gleason, H. A.; Cronquist, A. 1963. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. 810 p. [7065]
  • 78. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 101. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1986. Plants of west-central Montana--identification and ecology: annotated checklist. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-217. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 128 p. [2955]
  • 131. Pegtel, D. M. 1985. Germination in populations of Solanum dulcamara L. from contrasting habitats. New Phytologist. 100(4): 671-679. [72502]
  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]
  • 164. Uva, Richard H.; Neal, Joseph C.; DiTomaso, Joseph M., eds. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. New York: Cornell University Press. 397 p. [72430]
  • 89. Kadlec, John A.; Wentz, W. Alan. 1974. State-of-the-art survey and evaluation of marsh plant establishment techniques: induced and natural. Volume I: report of research. Dredged Material Research Program: Final report--Contract Report D-74-9. Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station. 231 p. [Work Unit No. 4A03: Contract No. DACW72-74-C-0010]. [75129]
  • 183. Zasada, John C.; Crossley, John A. 2008. Solanum dulcamara L.--bitter nightshade. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., Nisley, Rebecca G., eds. The woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handb. 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 1052-1054. Available online: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Solanum.pdf [2009, June 12]. [74703]

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Seed banking

More info for the terms: cover, density

Research pertaining to the longevity, density, and vertical distribution of bittersweet nightshade seed in the soil seed bank is limited, and much of the information discussed below has been derived from germination studies conducted in controlled environments. Additional research is needed to more accurately characterize bittersweet nightshade's seed banking potential for wild populations.

Results of germination tests from North America and Europe suggest that bittersweet nightshade seed may have a transient seed bank or one that persists for only a short time. Some bittersweet nightshade seeds germinate shortly after dispersal while most other viable seeds tend to germinate by the following spring [1,119,138,139,150]. In germination tests, 62% to 80% of bittersweet nightshade seeds germinated within 1 year after planting outdoors [1,138]. In the laboratory, over 90% of bittersweet nightshade seeds germinated within 15 days. Seeds used in this experiment had their seed coats manually broken prior to experimentation and were grown in petri dishes that were exposed to adequate moisture, light, and temperature [119]. Approximately 80% of bittersweet nightshade seeds placed in dry storage for over 12 months germinated in an incubator with alternating temperatures [139], suggesting that bitterroot nightshade seeds may stay viable for longer than a year under some conditions.

Reported densities of viable bittersweet nightshade seed in the soil are low [17,94]. At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, researchers [107], using the seedling emergence method, estimated bittersweet nightshade average seed densities in an oak savanna to be 6 seeds/m² for soil samples collected to a depth of 4 inches (10 cm). Another study from southern Canada also used the seedling emergence method and estimated the average density of germinable bittersweet nightshade seeds in the soil seed bank to be less than about 3.4 seeds/m² from soil samples collected to a 4-inch (10 cm) depth in a deciduous forest. In that same study, researchers used the seed extraction method, which counts viable as well as non-viable seed, to estimate bittersweet nightshade seed density in the same forest. Density estimates obtained using the seed extraction method were higher (91 seeds/m²) than for those obtained using the seedling emergence method, suggesting that most bittersweet nightshade seeds in the soil were not viable [17].

Studies on bitterroot nightshade's soil seed bank often lack detailed information about its occurrence in the aboveground vegetation [17]; however, available evidence suggests that bittersweet nightshade seed density in the soil seed bank is minimally influenced by its abundance in the aboveground vegetation [11,33,71,77]. In Ontario, Canada, Booth and Larson [11] found no relationship between bittersweet nightshade's aboveground vegetation cover and seed rain for 3 different habitats. In Pennsylvania, seedlings of bittersweet nightshade did not emerge from any of the sampled plots (n=110), even though 2.1% of the plots contained bittersweet nightshade in the aboveground vegetation [71]. In the Great Lakes region, a small amount (0.14% mean cover) of bittersweet nightshade occurred in coastal wetlands that had been diked; however, it was not present in the seed bank [77]. In Great Britain, viable bittersweet nightshade seed was found in the soil seed bank, although it did not occur in the aboveground vegetation [33]. Two studies indicated that bittersweet nightshade occurred in both the aboveground vegetation and seed bank; however, abundance was not reported for either [105,107].

  • 1. Adams, John. 1927. The germination of the seeds of some plants with fleshy fruits. American Journal of Botany. 14(8): 415-428. [48174]
  • 11. Booth, Barbara D.; Larson, Douglas W. 1998. The role of seed rain in determining the assembly of a cliff community. Journal of Vegetation Science. 9(5): 657-668. [72531]
  • 17. Brown, Doug. 1992. Estimating the composition of a forest seed bank: a comparison of the seed extraction and seedling emergence methods. Canadian Journal of Botany. 70(8): 1603-1612. [69376]
  • 33. Douglas, G. 1965. The weed flora of chemically-renewed lowland swards. Journal of the British Grassland Society. 20: 91-100. [74169]
  • 71. Hanlon, Teresa J.; Williams, Charles E.; Moriarity, William J. 1998. Species composition of soil seed banks of Allegheny Plateau riparian forests. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. 125(3): 199-215. [64603]
  • 77. Herrick, Bradley M.; Wolf, Amy T. 2005. Invasive plant species in diked vs. undiked Great Lakes wetlands. Journal of Great Lakes Research. 31(3): 277-278. [68541]
  • 94. Kjellson, Gosta. 1992. Seed banks in Danish deciduous forests: species composition, seed influx and distribution pattern in soil. Ecography. 15: 86-100. [74170]
  • 105. Leary, Cathlene I.; Howes-Kieffer, Carolyn. 2004. Comparison of standing vegetation and seed bank composition one year following hardwood reforestation in southwestern Ohio. Ohio Journal of Science. 104(2): 20-28. [52854]
  • 107. Leicht-Young, Stacey A.; Pavlovic, Noel B.; Grundel, Ralph; Frohnapple, Krystalynn J. 2009. A comparison of seed banks across a sand dune successional gradient at Lake Michigan dunes (Indiana, USA). Plant Ecology. 202: 299-308. [75046]
  • 119. Mitchell, Esther. 1926. Germination of seeds of plants native to Dutchess County, New York. Botanical Gazette. 81(1): 108-112. [72519]
  • 138. Roberts, H. A. 1986. Seed persistence in soil and seasonal emergence in plant species from different habitats. Journal of Applied Ecology. 23(2): 639-656. [70052]
  • 139. Roberts, H. A.; Lockett, Patricia M. 1977. Temperature requirements for germination of dry-stored, cold-stored and buried seeds of Solanum dulcamara L. New Phytologist. 79(3): 505-510. [72504]
  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]

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Seed dispersal

More info for the term: density

Bittersweet nightshade seeds are dispersed primarily by birds [76,97,98,150,154,155,175]. Birds consume the fleshy fruit, digest the pulp, and spread undamaged seeds by regurgitation or defecation [76,98]. In eastern states and the Great Lakes region, most bittersweet nightshade fruits were eaten and seeds dispersed shortly after fruits ripened in July and August [150,154]. Birds continued to forage on bittersweet nightshade fruit into the fall but to a lesser extent than in summer [150]. Mammals also eat bittersweet nightshade fruit and disperse its seed [124,155,156]. In eastern North America, Myers and others [124] concluded that white-tailed deer eat the fruit of bittersweet nightshade and have the potential to aid in the long distance distribution of its seed. See IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE for more information on animals that eat bittersweet nightshade fruit and seeds.

Seed rain (i.e., all seeds arriving at a site through various dispersal mechanisms) from bittersweet nightshade can be highly variable and may be influenced by habitat, site characteristics, or annual fluctuations in seed production or bird populations [11,98,150]. In Ontario, bittersweet nightshade mean seed rain over a 2-year period was significantly higher (P<0.1) on cliff faces than on the adjacent plateaus above the cliffs or in talus at the base of the cliffs. Greatest seed rain density for any one site in a given year occurred on talus. Bittersweet nightshade seed rain was greater in the 1st year of the study than the 2nd for all 3 site types [11], but reason for this variability was not reported.

Mean bittersweet nightshade seed rain density (seeds/m²) for three habitats in Ontario, over a 2-year period [11]
Sites Year
1993 1994
Plateau
Milton 0 0
Dufferin 16 0
Cliff face
Milton 217 57
Dufferin 469 36
Talus
Milton 609 0
Dufferin 0 0

In a jack pine (Pinus banksiana) plantation forest in Illinois, Smith [150] used seed traps during the summer and fall over a 2-year period to estimate bittersweet nightshade's total seed rain. Average seed rain for the first year was about 4 seeds/m², compared to about 12 seeds/m² the following year. Many of the other species collected also had greater seed rain in the 2nd year, leading researchers to speculate that the difference between years was likely due to increased seed set and/or larger bird populations [150].

In western Germany, seed rain was collected across various habitats for 1 year. Average seed rain for bittersweet nightshade was about 0.2 seeds/square foot. Approximately half were dispersed from primary sources (intact fruit dropped due to ripening) and the other half from secondary sources (regurgitated or defecated by birds) [98].

  • 155. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 11. Booth, Barbara D.; Larson, Douglas W. 1998. The role of seed rain in determining the assembly of a cliff community. Journal of Vegetation Science. 9(5): 657-668. [72531]
  • 76. Herrera, Carlos M. 1981. Are tropical fruits more rewarding to dispersers than temperature ones? The American Midland Naturalist. 118(6): 896-907. [63559]
  • 97. Kollmann, Johannes; Grubb, Peter J. 1999. Recruitment of fleshy-fruited species under different shrub species: control by under-canopy environment. Ecological Research. 14(1): 9-21. [72620]
  • 98. Kollmann, Johannes; Pirl, Michael. 1995. Spatial pattern of seed rain of fleshy-fruited plants in a scrubland-grassland transition. Acta-Oecologica. 16(3): 313-329. [71370]
  • 124. Myers, Jonathan A.; Vellend, Mark; Gardescu, Sana; Marks, P. L. 2004. Seed dispersal by white-tailed deer: implications for long-distance dispersal, invasion, and migration of plants in eastern North America. Oecologia. 139(1): 35-44. [48524]
  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]
  • 154. Stiles, Edmund W. 1980. Patterns of fruit presentation and seed dispersal in bird-disseminated woody plants in the eastern deciduous forest. The American Naturalist. 116(5): 670-688. [6508]
  • 156. Sweetman, Harvey L. 1949. Further studies of the winter feeding habits of cottontail rabbits. Ecology. 30(3): 371-376. [72521]
  • 175. White, Douglas W.; Stiles, Edmund W. 1992. Bird dispersal of fruits of species introduced into eastern North America. Canadian Journal of Botany. 70: 1689-1696. [19713]

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Pollination and breeding system

More info for the term: perfect

Flowers of bittersweet nightshade are perfect [184], and information pertaining to self compatibility is lacking. Stamens have short filaments and long lance-shaped anthers which fit closely around the style. Stamens dehisce from a pore at the top releasing pollen [69,158]. Primary pollinators of bittersweet nightshade are bumblebees [54,69,158]; occasional pollinators include solitary bees, sweat bees, and syrphids flies [158]. In Canada, Liu [108] found that various species of bumblebees visited bittersweet nightshade flowers between June and August.
  • 54. Free, J. B. 1970. The flower constancy of bumblebees. The Journal of Animal Ecology. 39(2): 395-402. [72511]
  • 69. Halsted, Byron D. 1890. Notes upon stamens of Solanaceae. Botanical Gazette. 15(5): 103-106. [72513]
  • 108. Liu, H. J.; Macfarlane, R. P.; Pengelly, D. H. 1975. Relationships between flowering plants and four species of Bombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in southern Ontario. Candian Entomologist. 107: 577-588. [74174]
  • 158. Symon, D. E. 1979. Sex forms in Solanum (Solanaceae) and the role of pollen collecting insects. In: Hawkes, J. G.; Lester, R. N.; Skelding, A. D., eds. The biology and taxonomy of the Solanaceae. Linnean Society Symposium Series: Number 7. London: Academic Press: 385-397. [74284]
  • 184. Zomlefer, Wendy B. 1994. Guide to flowering plant families. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of Carolina Press. 430 p. [72836]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: breeding system

Bittersweet nightshade reproduces by seed and locally through vegetative regeneration.

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: chamaephyte, hemicryptophyte

Raunkiaer [135] life form:
Chamaephyte
Hemicryptophyte
  • 135. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life Form

More info for the terms: shrub, vine

Shrub-vine

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Fire Regime Table

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Seed production

Flower and Bittersweet nightshade plants in full sun or light shade may produce more flowers and fruits than those in moderate to medium shade (review by [53]). Seed production is generally considered "high" in bittersweet nightshade [150]. Fruits of bittersweet nightshade contain 40 to 60 seeds each (reviews by [66,183]); however, one review [53] indicated that the average number of seeds per fruit may be fewer (31 seeds/fruit). One study from Sweden found that fruits contained fewer seeds on average (19.5 seeds/fruit) than what has been reported in North America [44].
  • 44. Eriksson, Ove; Ehrlen, Johan. 1991. Phenological variation of fruit characteristics in vertebrate-dispersed plants. Oecologia. 86 (4): 463-470. [74281]
  • 53. Francis, John K. 2004. Solanum dulcamara. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 721-723. [52256]
  • 66. Gunn, Charles R.; Gaffney, Frederick B. 1974. Seed characteristics of 42 economically important species of Solanaceae in the United States. Technical Bulletin No. 1471. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Agricultural Research Service. 33 p. [74341]
  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]
  • 183. Zasada, John C.; Crossley, John A. 2008. Solanum dulcamara L.--bitter nightshade. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., Nisley, Rebecca G., eds. The woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handb. 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 1052-1054. Available online: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Solanum.pdf [2009, June 12]. [74703]

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

Disease
Solanum dulcamara is an important vector for the devastating potato disease called brown rot which is caused by the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum.The bacterium can live in woody nightshade plants along rivers without causing problems. But when river water is used to irrigate potato fields the disease is spread to the crop.Eradication of S. dulcamara along rivers was tried as a control mechanism in Scotland in 2001 - see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2001/12/847).
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Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: vine

In the spring, new branches of bittersweet nightshade grow from the woody base, spreading horizontally or climbing over other vegetation or structures ([150], review by [93]). Flowering period for bittersweet nightshade can be somewhat variable across its range but typically occurs throughout most of the growing season:

Reported flowering and fruiting periods for bittersweet nightshade by geographic area
Area Flowering and/or fruiting periods
North America
Carolinas June-September [134]
Florida June-September [181]
Illinois late May-October [122,157]
Nevada May-September [91]
New York August [34]
West Virginia June-September [155]
Adirondack Mountains flowers June; fruits September [100]
Blue Ridge Province May-September [177]
Great Plains May-September [64]
New England flowers May-September, fruits July-October [117]
North America (general) May-September (review by [59])
North America (general) flowers July-August; fruits July-October (reviews by [182,183])
Northeastern United States summer-fall [60]
Pacific Northwest May-September [78]
Canada (Ontario) June-August or later [152]
Other Countries
China flowers summer; fruits fall [180]
England (Warwick) fruiting through October [139]
Germany fruiting begins June - July [98]
Pakistan June - July [2]
Sweden flowers mid-June to July; fruits late August-September [44]

In North America, bittersweet nightshade berries are produced throughout summer and fall and may remain on the plant until winter (reviews by [59,182,183]). In the United Kingdom and parts of Germany, its berries may begin ripening toward the end of July, are most abundant between August and late September/early October [9,37], and may continue to be produced through at least early November [9]. In Sweden, bittersweet nightshade fruit persists on the vine for an average of about 20 days [44]. Bittersweet nightshade's branches from the current year die back 3 to 9 feet (1-3 m) or more (review by [53]) to the woody base each winter ([150], review by [183]). Germination tests indicate that most bittersweet nightshade seedlings emerge in spring (see Germination).

  • 64. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603]
  • 155. Strausbaugh, P. D.; Core, Earl L. 1977. Flora of West Virginia. 2nd ed. Morgantown, WV: Seneca Books, Inc. 1079 p. [23213]
  • 177. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]
  • 9. Boddy, M. 1991. Some aspects of frugivory by bird populations using coastal dune scrub in Lincolnshire. Bird Study. 38(3): 188-199. [72557]
  • 34. Dowhan, Joseph J.; Rozsa, Ron. 1989. Flora of Fire Island, Suffolk County, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 116(3): 265-282. [22041]
  • 37. Eggers, Sonke. 2000. Compensatory frugivory in migratory Sylvia warblers: geographical responses to season length. Journal of Avian Biology. 31(1): 63-74. [72582]
  • 44. Eriksson, Ove; Ehrlen, Johan. 1991. Phenological variation of fruit characteristics in vertebrate-dispersed plants. Oecologia. 86 (4): 463-470. [74281]
  • 53. Francis, John K. 2004. Solanum dulcamara. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 721-723. [52256]
  • 60. Gleason, H. A.; Cronquist, A. 1963. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. 810 p. [7065]
  • 78. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1959. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 4: Ericaceae through Campanulaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 510 p. [1170]
  • 98. Kollmann, Johannes; Pirl, Michael. 1995. Spatial pattern of seed rain of fleshy-fruited plants in a scrubland-grassland transition. Acta-Oecologica. 16(3): 313-329. [71370]
  • 134. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 139. Roberts, H. A.; Lockett, Patricia M. 1977. Temperature requirements for germination of dry-stored, cold-stored and buried seeds of Solanum dulcamara L. New Phytologist. 79(3): 505-510. [72504]
  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]
  • 152. Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p. [12907]
  • 157. Swink, Floyd A. 1974. Plants of the Chicago region: a checklist of the vascular flora of the Chicago region, with notes on local distribution and ecology. 2nd ed. Lisle, IL: Morton Arboretum. 474 p. [75694]
  • 181. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd edition. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]
  • 59. Georgia, Ada E. 1919. A manual of weeds. New York: The Macmillan Company. 593 p. [72969]
  • 100. Kudish, Michael. 1992. Adirondack upland flora: an ecological perspective. Saranac, NY: The Chauncy Press. 320 p. [19376]
  • 2. Ali, S. I.; Qaiser, M.; [and others]. 2009. Flora of Pakistan, [Online]. Islamabad: Pakistan Agricultural Research Council; Karachi, Pakistan: University of Karachi; St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden. In: eFloras. St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=5; http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/pakistan/welcome.shtml [73152]
  • 91. Kartesz, John Thomas. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Reno, NV: University of Nevada. 1729 p. [In 2 volumes]. Dissertation. [42426]
  • 93. King County Noxious Weed Control Program. 2007. Best management practices: bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), [Online]. In: Noxious weeds--weed control information. Seattle, WA: King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Water and Land Resources Division, King County Noxious Weed Control Program (Producer). Available: http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/BMPs/bittersweet-nightshade-control.pdf [2009, June 11]. [74812]
  • 117. Mehrhoff, L. J.; Silander, J. A., Jr.; Leicht, S. A.; Mosher, E. S.; Tabak, N. M. 2003. IPANE: Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, [Online]. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Producer). Available: http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/ [2008, May 28]. [70356]
  • 122. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]
  • 180. Wu, Z. Y.; Raven, P. H.; Hong, D. Y., eds. 2009. Flora of China, [Online]. Volumes 1-25. Beijing: Science Press; St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. In: eFloras. St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2 and http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china. [72954]
  • 182. Young, James A.; Young, Cheryl G. 1992. Seeds of woody plants in North America. [Revised and enlarged edition]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 407 p. [72640]
  • 183. Zasada, John C.; Crossley, John A. 2008. Solanum dulcamara L.--bitter nightshade. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., Nisley, Rebecca G., eds. The woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handb. 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 1052-1054. Available online: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Solanum.pdf [2009, June 12]. [74703]

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Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: June-July.
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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

The genus Solanum is placed within the subfamily Solanoideae that lies within the family Solanaceae (PBI 2012). The species Solanum dulcamara is in the Dulcamaroid clade along with 11 others (Bohs 2005). The members of this clade all have an inflorescence morphology that features a sheath on the inflorescence axis (Knapp 2010). The pedicel of the plant is inside the cup (Knapp 2010). Solanum dulcamara is one of about 1,400 species (PBI 2012) in the genus and is closely related to S. seaforthianum and S. wallacei (Bohs 2005).

Solanum dulcamara was traditionally used topically for treating skin diseases and swelling, as well as sores and inflammation around finger and toenails (Christopher and Hoffman 1986). More recent medicinal research has shown S. dulcamara to contain a tumor-inhibiting agent, beta-solamarine (Ikeda et al. 2003). While it can be helpful, Solanum dulcamara is also a wild host plant for the Ralstonia solanacearum pathogen, which causes brown rot in S. tuberosum. The bacteria seep from the roots of S. dulcamara, contaminating watercourses used for irrigation of potatoes. Several areas in Europe are eradicating the plant to reduce the pathogen (Elphinstone 2001).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Solanum macrocarpum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Solanum dulcamara

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Solanum dulcamara

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 21
Specimens with Barcodes: 30
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Information on state-level noxious weed status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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Conservation

This is a widespread, weedy species that is not of conservation concern in any part of its range.It is sometimes described as invasive and can cause infestations, but these are usually short-lived.The genetic diversity across the range has not been investigated and some isolated populations may contain rare genes.
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Management

Impacts and Control

More info for the terms: cover, invasive species, natural, shrubs

Impacts: A review indicated that bittersweet nightshade was typically not abundant or aggressive enough to require control [53]. The Nature Conservancy has given bittersweet nightshade a national ranking of "low" based on its overall low ecological impacts, but they are moderately concerned about its widespread distribution and abundance [126].

Bittersweet nightshade likely poses the greatest threat in portions of North America where it is most common (see General distribution), especially in riparian communities where it is most likely to be abundant (see Population structure and Site characteristics) ([46], reviews by [93,125,126]). On sites where it is abundant, bittersweet nightshade's ability to grow over trees and shrubs may cause changes in community structure (reviews by [93,117,126]) and, to a lesser extent, composition (review by [126]). In Oregon, Fierke and others [46] suggested that dense homogenous patches of bittersweet nightshade may inhibit germination and establishment of native plants. They further speculated that invasive species such as bittersweet nightshade may be a threat to successional development in cottonwood riparian forests.

In Oregon, bittersweet nightshade is ranked as "moderately invasive" in wetlands and riparian areas. Weeds with this ranking moderately impact native habitats but likely do not cause native plant or invertebrate extirpations [125]. An analysis of invasive plant survey data from the upper Great Lakes states ranked invasive species on their ability to invade natural plant communities. Bittersweet nightshade was given a 3.3 ranking on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = little or no ecological impact, 10 = invades and replaces native plant communities) [136]. Field records from New England indicate that bittersweet nightshade typically occurs as a single plant or in small patches (1 to 20 plants) that comprise 5% or less of the overall vegetation cover. Larger populations (20-99 plants) of bittersweet nightshade occasionally occur, and on one site bittersweet nightshade cover was greater than 25% [117].

Bittersweet nightshade occurs in non-riparian sites; however, information pertaining to its invasiveness in these communities is limited. Although it occurs in non-riparian deciduous forest communities in eastern North America, available literature suggests that its abundance may decline or remain steady over time [79,85]. In the Great Lakes region, bittersweet nightshade is considered a "lesser invader" of forests and wetlands (review by [28]). Smith [150] speculated that bittersweet nightshade may not persist on dry sites over time, suggesting that its impacts in non-riparian areas may not be long-lasting (see Successional status).

Information pertaining to bittersweet nightshade's invasiveness in portions of North America where it is less common is limited and may indicate that its impacts are less severe in these areas. In Utah and the Great Plains, bittersweet nightshade is "rarely encountered" [64,174], in Colorado it was collected in only 1 drainage [172], and in North Carolina, bittersweet nightshade is rare and typically occurs in the mountains [134]. Although some of these reports are dated, a national invasive species database [126] indicates that bittersweet nightshade has not become more of a threat in these areas in recent times. Its ability to grow in warm climates suggests that it may continue to spread to other areas in the south (e.g. into Arkansas) (review by [126]).

In the Netherlands, bittersweet nightshade may be an alternative host for late blight (Phytophthora infestans), a pathogen that negatively impacts agricultural crops in the Solanaceae family. Infection in bittersweet nightshade, however, appears to be uncommon [49].

Control: Control of invasive plant species is most effective when it employs a long-term, ecosystem-wide strategy rather than a tactical approach focused on battling individual invaders [110]. Numerous methods have been suggested to control the spread of bittersweet nightshade, but information pertaining to their effectiveness in wildlands is limited. Regardless of the control method employed, removal of moderate to large infestations of bittersweet nightshade should be followed by replanting with desirable species to minimize reinvasion by bittersweet nightshade or other weeds. All treatments should be followed by monitoring for several years to help identify further infestations and determine survival of planted material (review by [93]).

Prevention: Early detection followed by immediate eradication helps to prevent the spread of many invasive plant species. Small infestations of bittersweet nightshade are easy to identify from mid-May to late fall, when it is flowering or fruiting. Manual control of new infestations and subsequent site monitoring may help prevent initial infestations from spreading (review by [93]).

Occasionally, bittersweet nightshade is still cultivated (review by [126]). Discouraging its commercial distribution and deliberate planting may help to prevent accidental introduction into native habitats.

Integrated management: Integrated management focuses not only on eradicating the target plant but also on establishing desirable species and maintaining weed-free systems over the long term. The King County Noxious Weed Control Program in Washington (review by [93]) recommends integrated management to maximize control of bittersweet nightshade and minimize negative impacts to the site. For large infestations, bittersweet nightshade can be cut with loppers or brushed mowed, followed by digging up roots or spot-spraying any remaining growth with an appropriate herbicide. As an alternative to herbicide, remaining growth can be covered with a heavy duty fabric to suppress further growth (review by [93]).

Physical or mechanical control: Bittersweet nightshade may be controlled manually by pulling or digging up the roots, which is easier when the ground is wet or loose (reviews by [28,53,59,93]). This method is most effective with young plants or new infestations (review by [93]). Care must be taken not to break the rhizomes or roots because fragments may regenerate vegetatively ([58,89], reviews by [93,183]).

Other physical or mechanical methods of control include repeat cutting or covering plants with a weed barrier (review by [93]). In a field in New York, however, repeat mowing failed to eliminate woody plant species including bittersweet nightshade [167].

Fire: See Fire Management Considerations.

Biological control: There are currently no biological control agents available for bittersweet nightshade (review by [93]).

Chemical control: Bittersweet nightshade may be controlled with selective broadleaf or broad-spectrum herbicides (reviews by [53,93]) but to what extent is uncertain. Following herbicide treatment, bittersweet nightshade should not be cut back until foliage turns brown or is dead (review by [93]). Several applications in the same year or consecutive years may be necessary for adequate control ([40], review by [93]). A few publications provide information on potential chemical treatments ([38,39,40], review by [93]). See The Nature Conservancy's Weed Control Method Handbook [161] for information on specific chemicals and how to correctly use herbicide in wildlands. Only herbicides approved for use in and near water can be used to control bittersweet nightshade infestations in riparian areas and other habitats adjacent to water. To prevent damage to desirable species, herbicide application should be done before other plants emerge or after they have gone dormant (review by [93]). For most weeds, herbicides are effective in gaining initial control of a new invasion or a severe infestation, but they are rarely a complete or long-term solution to weed management [20].

A 1919 review suggests that pouring hot brine or caustic soda around the roots will control bittersweet nightshade [59].

Cultural control: No information is available on this topic.

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  • 46. Fierke, Melissa K.; Kauffman, J. Boone. 2006. Invasive species influence riparian plant diversity along a successional gradient, Willamette River, Oregon. Natural Areas Journal. 26(4): 376-382. [65074]
  • 53. Francis, John K. 2004. Solanum dulcamara. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 721-723. [52256]
  • 58. Gauhl, Eckard. 1979. Sun and shade ecotypes of Solanum dulcamara L.: photosynthetic light dependence characteristics in relation to mild water stress. Oecologia. 39(1): 61-70. [72546]
  • 79. Holland, Marjorie M.; Burk, C. John; McLain, David. 2000. Long-term vegetation dynamics of the lower strata of a western Massachusetts oxbow swamp forest. Rhodora. 102(910): 154-174. [40164]
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  • 150. Smith, Albert J. 1975. Invasion and ecesis of bird-disseminated woody plants in a temperate forest sere. Ecology. 56(1): 19-34. [15667]
  • 167. Vickery, Peter D.; Dunwiddie, Peter W., eds. 1997. Grasslands of northeastern North America: Ecology and conservation of native and agricultural landscapes. Lincoln, MA: Massachusetts Audobon Society, Center for Biological Conservation. 297 p. [63669]
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  • 20. Bussan, Alvin J.; Dyer, William E. 1999. Herbicides and rangeland. In: Sheley, Roger L.; Petroff, Janet K., eds. Biology and management of noxious rangeland weeds. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press: 116-132. [35716]
  • 38. Egler, Frank E. 1948. 2,4-D effects in Connecticut vegetation, 1947. Ecology. 29(3): 382-386. [60983]
  • 39. Egler, Frank E. 1949. Herbicide effects in Connecticut vegetation, 1948. Ecology. 30(2): 248-256. [60965]
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  • 49. Flier, W. G.; van den Bosch, G. B. M.; Turkensteen, L. J. 2003. Epidemiological importance of Solanum sisymbriifolium, S. nigrum and S. dulcamara as alternative hosts for Phytophthora infestans. Plant Pathology. 52(5): 595-603. [72590]
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  • 93. King County Noxious Weed Control Program. 2007. Best management practices: bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), [Online]. In: Noxious weeds--weed control information. Seattle, WA: King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Water and Land Resources Division, King County Noxious Weed Control Program (Producer). Available: http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/BMPs/bittersweet-nightshade-control.pdf [2009, June 11]. [74812]
  • 117. Mehrhoff, L. J.; Silander, J. A., Jr.; Leicht, S. A.; Mosher, E. S.; Tabak, N. M. 2003. IPANE: Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, [Online]. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Producer). Available: http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/ [2008, May 28]. [70356]
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  • 183. Zasada, John C.; Crossley, John A. 2008. Solanum dulcamara L.--bitter nightshade. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., Nisley, Rebecca G., eds. The woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handb. 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 1052-1054. Available online: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Solanum.pdf [2009, June 12]. [74703]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

Bittersweet prefers full or partial sun, and moist to mesic soil that is loamy and fertile. However, because of its robust nature, this plant can adapt to drier conditions and other kinds of soil. It can spread aggressively and be difficult to get rid of because small pieces of rhizome in the soil can regenerate new plants. It is wise to wear gloves while attempting to remove this plant by hand as the foliage is toxic. Range & Habitat
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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

Although bittersweet nightshade is nonnative in North America, reviews indicate that it has food and cover value for wildlife [53,111,182,183], but it has not been reported as a major food source for any species with the exception of bumblebees. In Ontario, Canada, larval colonies of 2 species of bumblebees contained 64% to 71% bittersweet nightshade pollen [108].

Birds typically digest the fleshy portion of bittersweet nightshade's fruit and expel the seed (see Seed dispersal). Birds adapted to foraging in vegetation, which can reach fruit while perched on a branch and are not restrained by a small gape, are more likely to eat bittersweet nightshade fruit than birds lacking these characteristics [9]. Frugivorous birds such as crows [75], eastern kingbirds [106], mimic-thrushes, thrushes, white-crowned sparrow, and waxwings [8,154] eat the fruits of bittersweet nightshade. Numerous other songbirds and upland gamebirds throughout the United States also eat bittersweet nightshade fruit, especially in the Northeast and Southwest (review by [111]). Ring-necked pheasants eat the fruit of bittersweet nightshade [29,95], especially as an emergency food source during ice storms [29]. In the United Kingdom, bittersweet nightshade fruit is the primary food for blackcaps ([9], review by [151]) and is also used by blackbirds, song thrush, robin, starling, and spotted flycatcher. Bullfinches are the only known bird that regularly eats bittersweet nightshade fruit for its seed rather than its flesh (review by [151]).

Mammals that occasionally eat bittersweet nightshade fruit include black bear in Oregon [19], Virginia opossum in New York [70], eastern cottontail rabbits in Massachusetts [156], and white-tailed deer in the eastern United States [124]. A review indicated that common muskrats graze on the stems of bittersweet nightshade [53]. Herbivory by invertebrates on bittersweet nightshade has been reported in North America [168].

Palatability/nutritional value: The fruit of bittersweet nightshade is about 85% water [42,151,176] and may have low to moderate nutritional value. Herrera [76] calculated the relative yield (i.e., the dry, nutritive matter as a percent of total fruit mass) from available literature, for fruits of 15 tropical and 69 temperate bird-dispersed plants. Based on these calculations, the fruit of bittersweet nightshade had greater nutritional value than that of many plants with tropical origins, but less than that of many species of nontropical origins. A review by Snow and Snow [151] reported that the relative yield (i.e., the dry, nutritive matter as a percent of total fruit mass) for bittersweet nightshade fruit is low (12.5%) because the pulp is watery. When compared to fruits of other temperate region plants, bittersweet nightshade fruits contained near average percent nitrogen (1.15%) and carbohydrates (29.60%) but below average percent fat (1.00%) [8]. Together, the fruit and seed of bittersweet nightshade had a relatively high crude fat content (28%) [154], while the fruit pulp alone was low in lipids and calorie content [176]. An analysis of fruiting plants introduced to New Jersey found that the dry pulp of bittersweet nightshade fruit provided greater energy (18.63 kj/g) and contained more protein (6.2%) than that of most other introduced plants tested, but was low in fat ( 0.5% lipid) [176].

Bittersweet nightshade contains solanine (glycoalkaloid and alkamines collectively), a mildly toxic substance known to be poisonous ([42,81,88,159,178], review by [55]) to humans, livestock, mice, dogs and rabbits ([48,81], reviews by [53,55,104]). Unripe berries have the highest concentration of toxins, followed by vegetative tissue, and then ripe berries [55]. While some describe the amount of toxin in bittersweet nightshade as not "dangerously poisonous" (review by [59]), others report that children may be especially sensitive to it (review by [164]). A handbook on poisonous plants indicated that bittersweet nightshade is only likely to cause symptoms in humans who have eaten 10 or more unripe berries; a fatal dose would require about 200 unripe berries [55]. In large doses, solanine will slow the heart, reduce body temperature, cause vertigo, delirium, convulsions and possibly death (review by [104]). If ingested by horses, bittersweet nightshade can cause labored breathing, nausea, weakness, trembling, constipation, diarrhea, and possibly death [48]. Laboratory mice that ingested bittersweet nightshade fruit of various degrees of ripeness experienced gastrointestinal problems or behavioral changes [81].

Ripe bittersweet nightshade berries are also poisonous, which may reduce their palatability for some wildlife [8]. Evidence indicates that bittersweet nightshade is not toxic to birds ([8,9], reviews by [59,151]) but may be toxic to some mammals, which likely makes the fruit unpalatable. In a controlled experiment, bittersweet nightshade was found to be highly palatable to cedar waxwings, moderately palatable to American robins and white-crowned sparrows, and not palatable to yellow-pine chipmunks. A taste test determined that bittersweet nightshade fruit was not palatable to humans [8].

Cover value: While not preferred, bittersweet nightshade is occasionally used for nesting. Gray catbirds in the central portions of North America and Ontario, Canada, occasionally (< 1% of their nests) built nests in bittersweet nightshade [127]. American eiders nesting along Maine's Penobscot Bay occasionally used bittersweet nightshade; however, nesting success (i.e., percent hatched) was lower in nests constructed in bittersweet nightshade than in nests constructed in most native vegetation [22].

  • 9. Boddy, M. 1991. Some aspects of frugivory by bird populations using coastal dune scrub in Lincolnshire. Bird Study. 38(3): 188-199. [72557]
  • 22. Choate, Jerry S. 1967. Factors influencing nesting success of eiders in Penobscot Bay, Maine. The Journal of Widlife Management. 31(4): 769-777. [72510]
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  • 124. Myers, Jonathan A.; Vellend, Mark; Gardescu, Sana; Marks, P. L. 2004. Seed dispersal by white-tailed deer: implications for long-distance dispersal, invasion, and migration of plants in eastern North America. Oecologia. 139(1): 35-44. [48524]
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  • 151. Snow, Barbara; Snow, David. 1988. Birds and berries: A study of ecological interaction. Staffordshire, UK: T & AD Poyser. 268 p. [74664]
  • 159. Taylor, Ronald J. 1990. Northwest weeds: The ugly and beautiful villains of fields, gardens, and roadsides. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 177 p. [72431]
  • 168. Viswanathan, Danush V.; Narwani, Anita J. T.; Thaler, Jennifer S. 2005. Specificity in induced plant responses shapes patterns of herbivore occurrence on Solanum dulcamara. Ecology. 86(4): 886-896. [72503]
  • 176. White, Douglas William. 1989. North American bird-dispersed fruits: ecological and adaptive significance of nutritional and structural traits. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University. 367 p. Dissertation. [74665]
  • 55. Frohne, Dietrich; Pfander, Hans Jurgen. 1984. A colour atlas of poisonous plants: a handbook for pharmacists, doctors, toxicologists, and biologists. London: Wolfe Publishing Ltd. 291 p. [Translated from 2nd German edition by Norman Grainger Bisset]. [74661]
  • 182. Young, James A.; Young, Cheryl G. 1992. Seeds of woody plants in North America. [Revised and enlarged edition]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 407 p. [72640]
  • 183. Zasada, John C.; Crossley, John A. 2008. Solanum dulcamara L.--bitter nightshade. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., Nisley, Rebecca G., eds. The woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handb. 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 1052-1054. Available online: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Solanum.pdf [2009, June 12]. [74703]

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Other uses and values

Bittersweet nightshade has been studied primarily for its secondary chemicals (review by [14]) and used for its medicinal properties. Bittersweet nightshade contains small amounts of compounds that have been studied for their potential medicinal importance [80,82]. In North America bittersweet nightshade was widely prescribed for its narcotic, diuretic, alterative, and cleansing principles during the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was thought to relieve many ailments including leprosy, skin diseases, cutaneous diseases, rheumatic infections, ulcers, sores, and gland swelling. Although bittersweet nightshade is not widely used today, extracts from its roots, bark, and shoots are still prescribed for their narcotic principles in rheumatism, circulation, ulcers, and skin afflictions (reviews by [53,104]).

Bittersweet nightshade has been cultivated for ornamental purposes (reviews by [182,183]), and seeds are still available for purchase from online distributors. However, a review on seeds suggests that any ornamental values of bittersweet nightshade are offset by its poisonous properties [66].

  • 14. Braun, Mihaly; Toth, Albert. 1994. Morphology of bitter sweet (Solanum dulcamara L.) in contrasting marsh habitats. Flora. 189(4): 307-313. [72566]
  • 53. Francis, John K. 2004. Solanum dulcamara. In: Francis, John K., ed. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-26. San Juan, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry; Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 721-723. [52256]
  • 66. Gunn, Charles R.; Gaffney, Frederick B. 1974. Seed characteristics of 42 economically important species of Solanaceae in the United States. Technical Bulletin No. 1471. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Agricultural Research Service. 33 p. [74341]
  • 82. Horvath, I.; Bernath, J.; Tetenyi, P. 1977. Effect of the spectral composition of light on dry matter production in Solanum dulcamara ecotypes of different orgin. Acta Agronomica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 26: 346-354. [74171]
  • 80. Hooper, Shirley N.; Chandler, R. Frank. 1984. Herbal remedies of the maritime Indians: phytosterols and triterpenes of 67 plants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 10: 181-194. [48295]
  • 104. Le Strange, Richard. 1977. A history of herbal plants. New York: Arco Publishing Company, Inc. 304 p. [72966]
  • 182. Young, James A.; Young, Cheryl G. 1992. Seeds of woody plants in North America. [Revised and enlarged edition]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 407 p. [72640]
  • 183. Zasada, John C.; Crossley, John A. 2008. Solanum dulcamara L.--bitter nightshade. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., Nisley, Rebecca G., eds. The woody plant seed manual. Agric. Handb. 727. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 1052-1054. Available online: http://www.nsl.fs.fed.us/wpsm/Solanum.pdf [2009, June 12]. [74703]

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Solanum dulcamara was traditionally used topically for treating skin diseases and swelling, as well as sores and inflammation around finger and toenails (Christopher and Hoffman 1986). More recent medicinal research has shown S. dulcamara to contain a tumor-inhibiting agent, beta-solamarine (Ikeda et al. 2003). While it can be helpful, Solanum dulcamara is also a wild host plant for the Ralstonia solanacearum pathogen, which causes brown rot in S. tuberosum. The bacteria seep from the roots of S. dulcamara, contaminating watercourses used for irrigation of potatoes. Several areas in Europe are eradicating the plant to reduce the pathogen (Elphinstone 2001).

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Source: BOT 323 Flowering Plants of the World, Oregon State University

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Wikipedia

Solanum dulcamara

Solanum dulcamara, also known as bittersweet, bittersweet nightshade, bitter nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis,[3] climbing nightshade, fellenwort, felonwood, poisonberry, poisonflower, scarlet berry, snakeberry,[4][5][6] trailing bittersweet, trailing nightshade, violet bloom, or woody nightshade, is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum, family Solanaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, and widely naturalised elsewhere, including North America, where it is an invasive problem weed.

Overview[edit]

It occurs in a very wide range of habitats, from woodlands to scrubland, hedges and marshes. It is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region and was first spotted in 1843.[7]

Bittersweet is a semi-woody herbaceous perennial vine, which scrambles over other plants, capable of reaching a height of 4 m where suitable support is available, but more often 1–2 meters high. The leaves are 4–12 cm long, roughly arrowhead-shaped, and often lobed at the base. The flowers are in loose clusters of 3–20, 1–1.5 cm across, star-shaped, with five purple petals and yellow stamens and style pointing forward. The fruit is an ovoid red berry about 1 cm long, soft and juicy, with the aspect and odor of a tiny tomato, and edible for some birds, which disperse the seeds widely.[citation needed] However, the berry is poisonous to humans and livestock,[citation needed] and the berry's attractive and familiar look make it dangerous for children.

Distribution of Solanum dulcamara.

It is native to northern Africa, Europe and Asia, spreading throughout the world. The plant is relatively important in the diet of some species of birds such as European thrushes[citation needed] that feed on its fruits and are immune to its poisons, scattering the seeds abroad. It grows in all types of terrain with a preference for wetlands[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] It grows more easily in rich wet soils with plenty of nitrogen.

Gallery[edit]

Biological activity[edit]

The stems are approved by the German Commission E for external use as supportive therapy in chronic eczema.[8]

The alkaloids, solanine (from unripe fruits), solasodine (from flowers) and beta-solamarine (from roots) inhibited the growth of E. coli and S. aureus.[9] Solanine and solasodine extracted from Solanum dulcamara showed antidermatophytic activity against Chrysosporium indicum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and T. simil. and thus may cure ringworm.[10]

Although fatal human poisonings are rare, several cases have been documented. The poison is believed to be solanine.[11] Aggressive treatment of children ingesting limited amounts of ripened S. dulcamara berries appears to be unnecessary.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ illustration by Kurt Stüber, published in Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany
  2. ^ Sp. Pl. 1: 185. 1753 [1 May 1753] "Plant Name Details for Solanum dulcamura". IPNI. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  3. ^ Culpeper Plant Names Database, discussing various editions of Culpeper, for example Culpeper, Nicholas, The English physitian: or an astrologo-physical discourse of the vulgar herbs of this nation, London, Peter Cole, 1652.
  4. ^ Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
  5. ^ "Almost any unfamiliar berry is or may be snake-berry, and all snake-berries are poisonous; so a boy dares not eat a berry till some one . . . ". Needs verification but may come from Fannie D. Bergen (November 1892). "Popular American Plant Names". Botanical Gazette 17 (11): 363–380. doi:10.1086/326860. 
  6. ^ "Guide to Poisonous and Toxic Plants (Technical Guide #196)". US Army center for health promotion and preventive medicine, Entomological Sciences Program. July 1994. [dead link]
  7. ^ "List of invasive species in the Great Lakes Great Lakes United / Union Saint-Laurent Grands Lacs". Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  8. ^ "Bittersweet Nightshade professional information from". Drugs.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  9. ^ L. Kumar P., Sharma B., Bakshi N.,"Biological activity of alkaloids from Solanum dulcamara". Natural Product Research. 23 (8) (pp 719-723), 2009. Date of Publication: 2009.
  10. ^ Bakshi N., Kumar P., Sharma M. "Antidermatophytic activity of some alkaloids from Solanum dulcamara." Indian Drugs. 45 (6) (pp 483-484), 2008.
  11. ^ R. F. Alexander, G. B. Forbes, and E. S. Hawkins (1948-09-11). "A Fatal Case of Solanine Poisoning". Br Med J. 2 (4575): 518. doi:10.1136/bmj.2.4575.518. PMC 2091497. PMID 18881287. 
  12. ^ Hornfeldt CS. Collins JE. "Toxicity of nightshade berries (Solanum dulcamara) in mice". Journal of Toxicology - Clinical Toxicology. 28(2):185-92, 1990.
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Notes

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The purple or woody nightshade is found in parts of Hazara and Kashmir from 1300-2800 m. A variable species as regards leaf shape and pubescence and includes forms with entire leaves (var. indivisum Boiss.) or plants which are ± sub-glabrous (Solanum pseudopersicum Pojark.).

The red berries and young shoots, as in the previous species are said to be medicinal (Dymock, Pharm. Ind. Reprint ed. 2:301. 1972).

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The solanine contained in the berries can be used for treating rheumatism, arthritis, and skin disease, and used as a pesticide.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

bittersweet nightshade

bitter nightshade

bittersweet

climbing nightshade

European nightshade

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The scientific name of bittersweet nightshade is Solanum dulcamara L. (Solanaceae) [90,122]. Two varieties are recognized in North America:

       Solanum dulcamara L. var. dulcamara [90,147]

       Solanum dulcamara L. var. villosissimum Devs. [90,122,146,147]
  • 146. Scoggan, H. J. 1978. The flora of Canada. Part 3: Dicotyledoneae (Saururaceae to Violaceae). National Museum of Natural Sciences: Publications in Botany, No. 7(3). Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. 568 p. [75493]
  • 147. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2nd ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 90. Kartesz, John T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 1st ed. In: Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]
  • 122. Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 1986. [Revised edition]. Guide to the vascular flora of Illinois. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 507 p. [17383]

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