Family

Nightshade.

Colour

Purple, dotted with green.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

Maine westward.

Time Of Bloom

June-September.

Flowers: growing in drooping cymes on slender flower-stalks. Calyx: five-parted. Corolla: wheel-shaped; five-parted. Stamens: five; protruding; Pistil: one. Fruit: a small, egg-shaped, red berry. Leaves: alternate; on petioles; the lower one heart-shaped and pointed at the apex; the upper ones divided into three, rarely five, unequal leaflets, the centre one long, slightly heart-shaped, the other two small and wing-like at base. Stem: three to eight feet high; climbing; woody; smooth.

Seldom can a more exquisite study in colour and outline be found than the berries of the nightshade as they droop from their zig-zag peduncles. They are also among those that can boast of a perfect background. Their rich, fantastically shaped leaves hover about them much as the night droops upon and protects the earth. This, however, is purely imaginary, as one is apt to become when gazing at the nightshade.

The plant has been classed among the moderately poisonous ones and owes the peculiar taste of its twigs and roots, first bitter then sweet, to the presence of dulcamarin.