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It is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum. The flowers are in loose clusters of 3 - 20, 1 - 1.5 cm across, star-shaped, with 5 purple petals and yellow stamens and style pointing forward. The fruit is an ovoid red berry about 1 cm long, soft and juicy, with the aspect and odor of a tiny tomato, and edible for some birds, which disperse the seeds widely. Berries and foliage is poisonous to humans. The plant is relatively important in the diet of some species of birds such as European thrushes that feed on its fruits and are immune to its poisons, scattering the seeds abroad.
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.
Other names: bittersweet, bittersweet nightshade, bitter nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, climbing nightshade, fellenwort, felonwood, poisonberry, poisonflower, scarlet berry, snakeberry, trailing bittersweet, trailing nightshade, violet bloom, woody nightshade. The stems are approved by the German Commission E for external use as supportive therapy in chronic eczema. The alkaloids, solanine (from unripe fruits), solasodine (from flowers) and beta-solamarine (from roots) inhibited the growth of E. coli and S. aureus. Solanine and solasodine extracted from Solanum dulcamara showed antidermatophytic activity against Chrysosporium indicum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and T. simil. and thus may cure ringworm.