Montana Outdoors

August 23, 2009

Forbidden fruit

The blossoms and fruit of Climbing Nightshade remind me of some of the lyrics to one of Peter, Paul and Mary’s old songs,

“Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”

The flower of the Nightshade is indeed very pretty, but it and the pretty fruit as well are quite poisonous. They can also be hazardous to shoot: these were growing right next to the water in a small stream that was running through some large jagged rocks, the kind of place where, to get the right close-up, you place your right foot in the water and your left foot on a sharp rock just above your left ear.

Climbing nightshade

Climbing nightshade

Climbing nightshade

Climbing nightshade

Climbing nightshade,
Bittersweet nightshade,
Solanum dulcamara


  1. This flower is one I have never seen before.


    Comment by wildstorm — August 23, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

    • The blossoms are quite small (probably less that 1/4 inch across). Their distribution, according to USDA Plants shows them growing in all but the tier of states farthest south. I see them here only right next to small streams.


      Comment by montucky — August 23, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

  2. I remember that song. these flowers are very pretty to look at. would not know they and their fruit are poisonous. we’re glad you risk the hazards to get the shot though!


    Comment by silken — August 23, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

    • I’ve seen varying accounts of just how toxic they are, ranging from lethal to mild but clearly not something I would plan to include in my diet anyway.


      Comment by montucky — August 23, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  3. I found the purple things recently… but my click didn’t turn out as well. Beautiful!


    Comment by Stacey - Addicted to The Click — August 23, 2009 @ 11:31 pm

    • I took quite a few shots of these and I’m not entirely happy with these. Turns out that’s a really hard color to get right!


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  4. Beautiful flower. I particularly like the second image, Terry. I am back in an “up close and personal” mood with flowers. And the color and texture looks great here. Nicely done.


    Comment by edvatza — August 24, 2009 @ 3:09 am

    • I like the real close ups too: they reveal details that we just can’t see well without magnification. I’ve learned a lot about the blossoms shooting close ups.


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  5. The flowers are beautiful. Such a rich purple color.


    Comment by kateri — August 24, 2009 @ 6:55 am

    • They are striking, along with the fruit. If you catch them at just the right time, the leaves are a brilliant green as well.


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  6. They’re very vivid and pretty. How do birds and other animals know that certain fruits are poisonous? I assume they do know that, maybe I’m wrong. I know pyracantha berries are supposedly poisonous and I never see birds eating the ones in our yard.

    Good thing you’re agile!


    Comment by Candace — August 24, 2009 @ 8:37 am

    • I’ve often wondered that too Candace. I know sometimes the toxin on certain plants do not have an effect on certain animals, but I have heard of livestock deaths too from eating plants, especially (if I remember correctly) Larkspur.


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  7. Beautiful shots! Love the glistening/sparkly look on the flowers!


    Comment by 3bdigitalart — August 24, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    • The flowers are small, but their color is quite vivid. I love seeing the purple flecks of them along small streams.


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  8. Nightshade is indeed pretty. I have some growing in my yard. Preston had left it after mowing not knowing what it was and I told him. Nightshade grows wild and plentiful in our yard. I love the close-up captures of these. Beautiful shots.


    Comment by Anna Surface — August 24, 2009 @ 10:59 am

    • It’s a pretty plant, but I would think one would have to be careful if it was in a yard.


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2009 @ 8:39 pm

  9. Gorgeous! Next year I hope to travel into MT to look for wildflowers…

    Thanks for visiting my blog!


    Comment by Jann — August 24, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

    • I hope thy will be as abundant next year as they have been this summer!

      I have been enjoying your blog Jann since I found it. We’re neighbors (sort of) and yet many of the plants and especially birds that you have are different than what we have here. It’s enjoyable to see them.


      Comment by montucky — August 24, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

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