Solanaceae: a downy, scrambling perennial that is woody at the base, hence the alternative name woody nightshade. Grows in hedgerows and scrub, and often on stabilised shingle beaches. The flowers are 10-15mm across, with 5 purple, petal-like corolla lobes and projecting yellow anthers, in hanging clusters on purple stems, blooming from May-September. The fruit are poisonous, egg-shaped red berries, up to 1cm long. Leaves are oval and pointed. Widespread and common throughout, except in the north and Ireland. Native to Europe, including Britain, south and east from Norway to North Africa and temperate Asia.
All parts of the plant have alterative, anodyne, depurative, mildly diuretic, emetic, expectorant, hepatic, mildly narcotic and purgative properties.
All seeds from this species will need a cold treatment or a soak in GA3 before they will successfully germinate, germination is about 4 weeks. Seeds can either be mixed with a little damp sand in a sealed bag and placed in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils. Prefers a damp shady position and a neutral to alkaline soil. Succeeds in full sun to light shade.