Bittersweet

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Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Solanales
Family:Solanaceae
Genus:Solanum
Species:S. dulcamara

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) 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. It occurs in a very wide range of habitats, from woodlands to scrubland, hedges and marshes.

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SolanumDulcamara-plant-sm.jpg
Plant

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 m 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, poisonous to man but edible for birds, which disperse the seeds widely. As with most Solanum species, the foliage is also poisonous to humans.


The name bittersweet is also confusingly used in some areas for some species in the genus Celastrus (the Staff vines, family Celastraceae), e.g. American bittersweet (C. scandens) and Oriental bittersweet (C. orbiculatus).

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SolanumDulcamara-leaf-sm.jpg
Leaves
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SolanumDulcamara-flower-sm.jpg
Flowers
fr:Douce-amère

nl:Bitterzoet sv:Besksöta

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