Solanum dulcamara seeds

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Seeds of Solanum dulcamara

 

Solanum dulcamara is a native plant to Asia and Europe. It is referred by common names such as bittersweet, violet bloom, woody nightshade, bittersweet nightshade, bitter nightshade, blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, climbing nightshade, fellenwort, felonwood, poisonberry and poisonflower. The plant’s synonyms are Solanum wendlandii and Solanum melongena. Bittersweet is from Solanaceae family and is considered to be a problematic weed. The plant has a perennial lifecycle growing up to the height of 3m tall. It is a climbing shrub and can often twin on other plants. The plant grows well in moist banks of the swamp.

Solanum dulcamara plant has leaves that vary in length. They are also rough, lobed at the base and arrowhead shaped. The inflorescence of the plant is panicle with more than 7 flowers. The flowers of the plant are purple with a yellow stamen and blooms in the month of June to September. The plant bears berry-like fruits that are green in colour before they can get ripe and red when they fully ripe in August to October. The leaves of the plant fall off after the fruit is mature and has fully ripened to start growing the following years. The fruit is juicy and edible by some birds; it is also attractive to look at.

The bittersweet plant is hermaphrodite. This means that it has both the female and the male organs and can, therefore, have self-fertilisation that is enabled by the insects or through other cross-pollination agents. The flowers of the plant produce attractive nectar to the insects, particularly the bees. The seed of the plant is majorly dispersed by the birds who feed on the fruit.

Solanum dulcamara is considered poisonous. However, the plant is still used for medical purposes with increased cautions. Only qualified professionals should supervise and direct the use of the plant for medical purposes. The bittersweet remedy is said to treat skin diseases, heart problems, bronchial congestion, arthritis and jaundice. The most used parts of the plant are the stem, which should be harvested after 2 or 3 years to be effective and the leaves. The root of the plant can also be used in treating the swellings. Certain birds consume the fruit of the plant. The green, fresh and still young leaves and stem can be harvested to treat minor complaints like cough, joint pains and backaches. The plant leaves and fruits are, however, poisonous to human and domestic animal consumption. Taking excess of the plant medication has several side effects like results to convulsions, slows the heart and can paralyse the nervous system. 

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