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Poisonous plants

Bittersweet nightshade is a climbing perennial small shrub with a long curved stalk. Older plants are woody at the base. The lower leaves are egg-shaped with a heart-shaped base, while the others are lyre-shaped.

The flowers are violet and they lie in tassels. The crown is wheel-shaped with green spots at the base of the lobes. The five oblong anthers hang together. The berries are oblong, red and shiny. But don’t be tempted! With its steroid alkaloids, the entire plant is poisonous. Bittersweet nightshade is a member of the same family as potatoes and tomatoes.

The plant is common in most of Denmark. It usually grows in wet rich soil, in reed forests, ditches, thickets, and as a not particularly troublesome weed in gardens. Old plants can be up to almost two metres high and they are very decorative when their dark violet flowers appear on a low shrub.