Deadly Nightshade

Atropa belladonna

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  3. Deadly Nightshade


The poisonous nature of Deadly Nightshade is famous: its shiny black berries are perhaps a temptation to children, but fatal in even small doses. Found mainly on chalky and limestone soils, particularly on recently disturbed ground, this bushy perennial has bell-shaped flowers that appear from June to August.

How to identify

Deadly Nightshade has oval, pointed leaves which are pale green and strongly ribbed. Purple-brown flowers appear before the berries, which are green at first, turning to shiny black, and look a little like cherries.

Where to find it

Grows in a range of areas across the UK, but is most common in central and southern England.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Despite its poisonous nature, especially for humans and some mammals, Deadly Nightshade is still a useful plant for wildlife with certain species being unaffected by its toxins. The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, including many different species of plants. But these precious sites are under threat from development, intensive agricultural practices and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Deadly Nightshade
Latin name
Atropa belladonna
Height: up to 1m
Conservation status