Friday, August 21, 2009

What is it??

Now updated with the answer, below.
This striking plant is growing in our fence line. Can anyone explain it to me? At first, I thought it might be a rogue tomato, but now I'm wondering if it more like a pepper. It is near a neighbor's former garden. Do you think this is something native, or something escaped from the garden? You can see the leaf just above the wire on the right side of the photo.

See the upside down T? That is the stem of this plant. Any ideas ? !

UPDATE: Thanks to Greenmantle (all the way from the UK), I have an answer - Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara). It isn't as poisonous as some of the nightshade family, but still poisonous. It isn't on the local noxious weed list (just a weed of concern). See this link for the scoop from King County, Washington.

I think I'll leave it on my "to monitor" list, at least for another season. While many varieties are welcome in the fence row (a mini hedgerow), rampant, bully vines are not welcome! We will see...

9 comments:

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I have no idea, but they sure are pretty.

Greenmantle said...

It looks almost exactly like what we would call "Nightshade" in the UK... Or the "Potato Vine". It's a member of the Solanum family and depending on the variety can be highly toxic. It's a common hedgerow plant that kids have to be warned about, beacause of the attractiveness of the berries.

I'm guessing yours maybe the "Bittersweet Nightshade" which does grow in America and Canada. If so it's not a poisonous as some, but would give you a nasty bellyache!

You can find out about it here...

http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/bittersweet-nightshade

http://www.ontariowildflower.com/wildflower_waste_alien2.htm

Petunia's Gardener said...

Catherine, It is a pretty one - always to take with some caution!

Greenmantle - looks like you are correct! I found bittersweet nightshade information for our local area, also. I didn't notice it during the blooming stage, but now I know what to look for. Thanks for the information!

Greenmantle said...

Happy to help PG!... I have the self same thing growing over a tumbledown barn in my own garden, so it wasn't really a hard spot. LOL!

Where we lived as kids, we also sometimes had Deadly Nightshade turn up, which is a more compact plant, with black berries. I well remember having the significance of it drummed into me, along with other nasties, as soon as I was old enough to run around on my own.

chook said...

i nailed it for a nightshade right away...they have a obnoxious smell when you pull the vines.

wiki: The family is also informally known as the nightshade family or potato family. The family includes Datura (Jimson weed), mandrake, deadly nightshade (belladonna), capsicum (paprika, chili pepper), potato, tobacco, tomato, eggplant and petunia.

Petunia's Gardener said...

Chook, I didn't pull on the vines much as I was a little leary of it. I'll take a whiff next time. Nice little connection to Petunia, I see (even though she's a snake). Now I have to keep it around (but keep an eye on it). Thanks! Paula

chook said...

they are stinky, aren't they.

:)

Lucky-1 said...

So glad you got an answer:D I learnt something new too.

Karen said...

I was going to say nightshade too! We had this in our Ballard alley, I was constantly ripping it out. It is a thug, I'd pull all of it you can before those seeds spread any further. When you see it in the spring, it has little purplish flowers that look like tomato flowers (they are related, ditto potatoes, peppers, eggplant and tobacco), then the berries come in green, then they turn red. You probably know all of this by now! Anyway, hack it back before it takes over is my .02!