Mystery plant- friend or foe? Eat or not?




Is it a weed or a vegatable, pepper etc?

The flowers look like potato and chilli pepper flowers but the leaves and fruit are different.  It is in a pot and about 10in high.  The "green fruit" are currently smaller than a pea.

I grew it from seed indoors with collected flower seed so was unaware I had collected a pepper/vegatable seed.  I have about 3 more not yet in flower.

Can anyone enlighten me on what it is - will I be able to eat the fruit or is it poisonous??




  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,111

     Have you got a better photo of the flowers?

    I think it is solanum family, and  probably  woody nightshade. Woody nightshade the fruits turn red.

       It is NOT safe to eat.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Same family as chillies, potatoes, tomatoes.  Definitely do not eat.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,363

    I agree, almost certainly woody nightshade.  Do not eat!

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • dizzylizzydizzylizzy Posts: 92


    Thanks for all the responses, I am glad I posted it, very enlightening, I now realise I also have several plants of deadly nightshade with purple and yellow flowers, thin woody stems near the base, with small purple and yellow flowers, overhangs walls, which I belived to be the Chilean Potato vine/ solanum crispum but know think it is deadly nightshade.  Obvioulsy related as being solanum- potato family.I thought deadly night shads was the Lords and Ladies with red berries and green spathes!

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    I think you are muddling your nightshades.  What you are describing is woody nightshade or bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara).  The deadly variety (Atropa bella-donna) is not all that common and always grows on chalk. I have only seen it once, on chalk, many years ago, whereas woody nightshade is rampant and has bright red berries.

    In days gone by ladies used to put drops of a preperation made from the plant (the berries, I suppose) in their eyes to dilate them, hence the name bella-donna.  Not to be recommended.

    Perhaps you could ask for a good flower book for Christmas

  • dizzylizzydizzylizzy Posts: 92

    I have some of the plants with purple and yellow flowers that have been in the garden growing out of wall tops for the last 4 years which I thought were solanum vines although the flowers are smaller.

    The photo attached re my question was for the seed grown plants of this year which are similar but with white petals and yellow centre.

    I have over 50 excellent books but non gave the detail as required!

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    My wild flower 'bible' is the Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers, Mcclintock & Fitter, 1969 Edition!!  Sort of thing you might pick up in a charity shop or car boot sale. It has line drawings and good detailed descriptions.  I don't find books with photos of wild plants are very good.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,870

    My bible is Keble Martin's the Concise British Flora - I've had it 40+ and haven't found anything to better it image

    Think it's out of print now but there's lots of used copies on Amazon etc.  The older print runs have better colours than the newer ones.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    do not eat,looks like deadly nightshade.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Sorry, but it does not look like deadly nightshade.

    'A tall, stout, often downy bushy perennial 2 - 6ft high, with broad, pointed oval stalked leaves, and at their base solitary large drooping bell-shaped, dull purple flowers.  Fruit a glossy black berry, the size of a small cherry, surrounded by the broad calyx-lobes.  Often confounded with the smaller Woody Nightshade.'

    'Woody Nightshade, clambering or prostrate, weakly twining.  Flowers with conspicuous central column of yellow anthers. Fruit an egg-shaped berry, green then yellow and finally red.'  I have paraphrased, it is easy to look up.

    It is poisonous, but not nearly as much so as deadly nightshade which is typically found on chalk.

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