Because most of the traffic here is in critique, I’m putting this here. At least for now.
Hi peeps - welcome to Weed of the Week.
No not THAT weed. And it might not be every week so don’t get all excited.
So many naturalist and gardening articles these days talk about supporting native pollinators with native plants. Many of those plants have been, and sometimes still are, considered weeds. Pests. Invaders of our lawns and gardens. Things to be put down with herbicides and a vigorously applied weed-whacker (see that…!). Some are invasive species, I know and we all struggle with both sides of that coin.
But some are really lovely and important to the ecosystems in which they grow. I’ve photographed many of them over the years and so I’ll start with -
Solanum dulcamara aka Bittersweet nightshade or Deadly nightshade which is a mistake with this species. Atropa belladonna is Deadly nightshade and will kill you. The leaves and flowers are different and the berries turn a deep purple or black when ripe. The berries of S. dulcamara turn red when ripe and the flowers are star-shaped as opposed to bell-shaped.
It’s a wild vine that’s adapted to most of North America, but is Eurasian in origin. Contrary to its common names, it isn’t actually that deadly. Eating a lot of the berries will make you sick though (I call them Dr. Evil’s Tomatoes). Touching them or any part of the plant can irritate the skin as well.
Nightshades are an interesting family of plants. All of them are basically toxic with lethality that goes mostly like this –
eww, I don’t feel so good
omg, I wish I was dead
Even the non-deadly ones have deleterious effects for some people. Those would be potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and eggplant. Basically, nightshades produce powerful alkaloids that can exacerbate inflammatory responses, lead to leaky gut and irritable bowel and auto-immune diseases, which is sad because they’re really tasty. Except for eggplant. Tobacco is also part of the nightshade family and we all know what enough of that does.
It was this and the real Deadly nightshade that kept European colonists from eating many of the native American nightshade species including tomatoes and potatoes even though native peoples had been doing so for centuries. Luckily for most of the populations in Europe, they got over that and the mighty potato saved millions of lives. And where would Italy be without the tomato? Also native to South America and a product of the Colombian Exchange like tobacco.
So if you have any photos of this lovely and slightly menacing vine, pile them on!
Although I’m not specifically after any feedback, feel free to comment on what might make these better. I wish I’d done stacking back when I took them.
Is this a composite: No
All of these were done with either the Olympus E-30 or the Panasonic GH3 and the legacy Olympus 90mm f/2 macro. Probably with tripods and various filters. All processed in Lightroom with the usual improvements.