Mystery weed

mystery weed from the side
Mystery weed from the side

So I was walking across the gravel walkway in our yard, in which I fight a constant battle with encroaching weeds, and suddenly—hey, wait, I’ve never seen a weed like that before. So I got out the field guides and tried to identify it. No luck so far. Anyone got suggestions?

mystery weed from above
Mystery weed from above

It’s very small. The flower is about 1/4 inch wide. There are 5 pointed white petals and a tight cluster of yellow stamens. There’s green bits in the centre of the flower around the stamens—you can see them best in the third picture.

mystery weed from three quarter angle
Mystery weed, flattering three-quarter view

The petals were straining back like those in a lily, but it closed up in the evening, and today the backward direction wasn’t as noticeable. There are buds for new blooms, and you can see the fruit from older ones, those green globes (on the right in the first pic).

I don’t know whether to cherish it or run screaming to the burn pile (well, assuming we were allowed to burn anything at the moment). I’ve compromised by putting it in a pot for the time being.


9 thoughts on “Mystery weed

  1. I think it may be a sunberry. I got a plant from a neighbour last year, who is very close to you, it may have climbed the fence!! :)

    1. Aha! That solves the mystery very well. Is it the edible variety? One doesn’t want to make any errors about the exact variety…

  2. Solanum nigrum (European Black Nightshade or locally just “black nightshade”, Duscle, Garden Nightshade, Hound’s Berry, Petty Morel, Wonder Berry, Small-fruited black nightshade or popolo).

    1. Thank you! It’s so great to have knowledgeable readers.

      It’s definitely a nightshade, and if what the neighbours have is Solanum retroflexum I guess that’s the variety. Now I just have to decide if I dare nibble a ripe berry… would that I knew how to tell the difference.

  3. You could always get said neighbour to pop around & make sure that’s the variety. I know that she ate the ones in her garden & I ate the ones she gave me & I’m still here!! :)

  4. The The Plants of Coastal British Columbia which has entries for Solanum dulcamara (European bittersweet) and S. americanum (black nightshade also known as S.nigrum in part). For the bittersweet it says the leaves and fruits are moderately poisonous to humans and livestock. For the black nightshade the berries are poisonous, at least when immature. I personally would avoid eating any part of this plant.

    1. Thanks, I’ll check out P+M. The neighbour confirms that they are growing the edible variety, so I’m going to take it over and do a comparison, plus research on the exact differences. But definitely caution is the better route with plants like this.

      1. Its a shame it has gotten loose. The other varieties sound like pretty serious weeds that have spread unabated. Still, if it is edible, then it has something going for it. Like blackberries!

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