Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
Wild Flowers of Sleepy Hollow Lake From Art and Photo Journals and Galleries Directory

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Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
Table of Contents

Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 01
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 01)  Nightshade, also called bittersweet nightshade, is a climbing and twisting vine that grows along the ground and on low plants or climbs into trees and shrubs to heights of about eight feet.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 01a
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 01a)  In this photo we can observe the various stages in the development of the nightshade flower from a green bud to a deep purple bud as it prepares to open into a flower.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 01b
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 01b)  In this photo, we can observe the stages of the nightshade flowers' opening.  As the deep purple buds open the five petals of the nightshade flower face forward, as in the top flower; as the flower matures, the petals begin to open wider, as in the flower to the left; and finally the petals fold back from the stamens and pistil, as in the flower to the right.  The five stamens stay close together, forming a beak shape with the single pistil protruding like a white tongue.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 02
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 02)  At the base of each of the five nightshade flower petals are two greenish-yellow dots, each surrounded by a white ring.  The actual size of the nightshade flower is about 1/2 inch across.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 03
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 03)  In this photo of the nightshade flower, we are focusing on the little hairs that grow on the underside of the open petals and can be seen on the edge curl.  We are also focusing on the tip of the five stamen "beak" with its projecting single pistil.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 04
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 04)  Once the nightshade flowers are pollinated, they soon form green berries, which mature to a bright red color.  In this photo, we can also observe another characteristic of the nightshade:  Each flower and each berry has its own stem which grows alternately from the notch or bend of the vine.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 04a
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 04a)  In this photo, we have a close up view of two of the nightshade berries, showing the way their individual stems grow separately from the notch or bend of the vine.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 05
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 05)  The leaves of the nightshade are ovate and have irregular toothing or notching.  In the leaf at the top of the photo the notches are almost to the stem, giving the leaf the appearance of having three leaflets (one large and two small); but this is only one deeply notched leaf.  The nightshade leaves grow alternately along the vine.  We can also observe the trumpet-shaped corolla in the side view of the flower in the lower left of the photo.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 06
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 06)  Both the foliage and the berries of the nightshade are somewhat poisonous, the berries causing nausea; however in diluted form the berries were used by Native Americans to treat nervousness and diarrhea.  The dried stems were used as a sedative, diuretic and hypnotic.  The chewed roots had an initial bitter taste which became sweet as they continued to be chewed.  This characteristic led to the name, bittersweet nightshade.
Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 07
(Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) - 07)  In this photo we get another look at the beautifully created details of the nightshade flower.

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