Invasive Speciesbittersweet nightshade

Solanum dulcamara
FOUND by TheEggs
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by Ms. Fitz
Peer reviewed by
Field Notes
On November 9th, 2018, our class went out to the pond area of Freeport Middle School. The sky was filled with dark gray clouds, but the sun was trying to peek through. The air was a little chilly with a slight breeze. We were piled up from head to toe with winter clothes and rain boots. Cars were zooming by on the highway right behind us. It smelled like diesel and wet grass. We saw a ton of dead berries at our feet. It was 47 degrees Fahrenheit. Our noses quickly turned red just like the berries on the bittersweet nightshade. The latitude is 43.864732 and the longitude is -70.106027. We began our investigation. We stepped down into the dead grass, that looked fine to step on, but our feet sank right into the marshy water. The bittersweet nightshade plants were along the side of the fence, blocking us from the highway. We took a couple of photos and started to investigate. We did not have a quadrat due to the placement of the berries. One thing we couldn’t do was touch or eat the berries. According to the information card on the bittersweet nightshade, these berries are highly poisonous and can be only eaten by birds, which spread the berries. Berries have about 30 seeds in each one. We did our best by looking closely and by taking close pictures. The berries matched the definition and picture perfect on the information card. We also investigated that the stem was wrapping around the cattails that our group was close to. We picked a vine off of the fence to investigate closer. We soon noticed that the stem has a very unpleasant smell when you ripped it off (better explained in the first piece of evidence). After examining it to the best of our ability, we took our supplies, got our boots out of the quicksand-like water, and our written-on notes, and head inside to write what we had found. The Eggs had officially done their work.
A sketch of our study site.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
The stem on the bittersweet nightshade almost matched the information card perfectly. They were described to be woody and thin. The stem was exactly woody and thin, almost like a wood like bamboo. Also, the stem smelled when you cracked it open. With permission from the teacher, we cracked a part of the stem, and a foul smell, almost like a marsh, came out when we put our noses close to the open part of the stem. Lastly, the stem as described in the information card, the stem wraps around twice. This almost looked like two pieces of string wrapped around each other. We found the wrapping on a cattail and on the fence.
Photo of my evidence.
On the information card for the bittersweet nightshade it says that the color of the leaves is more purple toward the inside of the leaf but on the edges, it is more of a dark green or light green depending on the time of year. The leaf arrangement is alternate, the leaf type is simple, the leaf shape is arrow-shaped and the leaf edge is wavy. It also says that the leaves sprout along a slender stem and small earlike lobes at the base of each leaf. The leaves were a little bit dry and it did not look they had enough hydration.
Photo of my evidence.
On the information card for the bittersweet nightshade, it described the berries to be small and egg-shaped. They are also described to have a bright red color. The ones that we found were very to similar to the ones on the information card. They had all the characteristics to the shape and color of the berries. The berries were bright red, egg-shaped, and small, just like the description inquired. When we smelled the berries it had a wretched smell to it.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Solanum dulcamara
Common name:
bittersweet nightshade
Count of individuals: 
Fruit (plants)
Vegetative structures (plants)
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 43.864742 °
W -70.105993 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
Freeport Middle School Pond
Trip date: 
Fri, 2018-11-09 19:14
Town or city: 
Type of investigation: 
Species and Habitat Survey
Habitat Observations
Species diversity: 
3 different species
Evidence of vectors: 
Paved road
Walking trail
Highway/ Fence
Tree canopy cover: 
Soil moisture: 


Well done, TheEggs!

This is a detailed and well thought out observation. Based on the description of the stem, leaves, and berries, it is easy to confirm that you found solanum dulcamara. It sounds like you had an adventure out in the cold, too! How densely was it growing? Do you think this invasive is having an impact on surrounding native species? Thanks for helping to monitor your area. Keep observing!