Enchanted, I'm sure... June 14, 2007
This is an enchanting little vine, although a strange bedfellow of the potato family. Botanically I am sure it fits right into the Solanaceae, but somehow it is hard to associate this somewhat exotic looking and "somewhat poisonous" (Newcomb's Wildflower Guide) plant with the fries at McDonalds. And just what is, "somewhat poisonous"? I am not so sure I care to find out.
While botanizing a potential property for conservation, these handsome violet and yellow flowers took my eye. Bittersweet Nightshade, Solanum dulcamara with its recurved flower petals and contrasting colors makes quite a statement. Often found in wastelands, the rocky shoreline of Lakeside was famous for it. Everyone worried that some small child would eat the red berries and expire. Although I noticed no decrease in the numbers of Lakeside children, we had an active campaign to keep this lovely, but somewhat deadly, vine to a minimum. Though many consider it a noxious weed, I always admired the unusual flower.