Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
WOODY NIGHTSHADE, BITTERSWEET, BITTERSWEET NIGHTSHADE, EUROPEAN BITTERSWEET
A. A. Reznicek
Introduced from Eurasia and so thoroughly naturalized in North America that to many people it appears as if native. First collected in Washtenaw Co. in 1860, the species was apparently widespread in the southern Lower Peninsula by the 1890’s. Now all too abundant in swamps (conifers and hardwoods), depressions and clearings in deciduous forests, edges of ponds and marshes, river banks, thickets and shores, disturbed ground, dumps, roadsides, railroads, fields, cultivated ground, and gardens.
All our plants have at least a little pubescence on the leaves and stems, especially young ones. The larger leaves are almost always deeply lobed, but smaller ones may not be. The attractive flowers with purple corollas and cone of yellow anthers are familiar to many. The corolla is occasionally white: f. albiflorum Farw. The ripe fruit is an attractive red. Plants emit an unpleasant odor when bruised, and all parts are ± poisonous if ingested.
This is the original Old World “bittersweet,” but in North America that common name has more often been used for Celastrus, a genus not native in Europe and of a different family (Celastraceae).