Asked on Aug 13, 2012


Sue KienePam GDouglas Hunt


This pretty plant just popped up it seems a few weeks ago with its little purple flowers. Today it is spread way out and has green berries-some of which have turned red. I am wondering if this is a true keeper or a weed? If it is a weed are the berries good for the birds or squirrels-if they are I would move it to an isolated spot instead of getting rid of it completely. Thank-you to all you smarties out there.
Very thick reddish main shoot-plant has an odd smell to it
small, bell-shaped purple flowers
5 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 14, 2012

    It's very hard to see the flowers in your second photo, but from what I can make out, and the odor you describe, I believe you have bittersweet nightshade, Solanum dulcamara. While not as poisonous as deadly nightshade, it still has been known to kill livestock and poison pets, and will seriously sicken children who eat the berries. Birds, however, will have no trouble eating them, and spreading the plant.

  • Dee W
    on Aug 14, 2012

    I looked it up and thank-you Douglas it is indeed the bitersweet nightshade plant-fits all the descriptions and location it prefers. Since it is so invasive I think I will pull it. Wish I had more room, it is a pretty plant.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 15, 2012

    I think that's the right decision, Dee. There are other plants that are good for wildlife without the downsides.

  • Pam G
    on Sep 10, 2012

    It's purple nightshade.. It's very pretty but very invasive.. if you let it grow it will take over your whole garden and keep producing new ones year after year.. It is one of those weeds that farmers hate and can never get rid of..

  • Sue Kiene
    on Oct 3, 2016

    yes definitely nightshade. The birds will like it but you, in the end will not

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