What Is Snakeberry?

Snakeberry is a variety of nightshade with the scientific name Solanum dulcamara. It is also known as bittersweet or woody nightshade. It is a vine with a woody stem and has bright red egg-shaped berries that are not harmful to birds but are poisonous to humans.

The berries look and smell like miniature plum tomatoes. They are juicy and contain numerous seeds. All plant tissue contains the toxic compound solanine, especially unripe berries. Solanine has cardiac effects and can cause delirium, stomach upset, convulsions and death. Snakeberry, in small amounts, was used as a medicinal herb in the 19th century.