Enchanter's nightshade

Enchanter's nightshade ©John Bridges

Enchanter's Nightshade

Scientific name: Circaea lutetiana
Enchanter's Nightshade is a hairy plant, with rounded leaves that taper to a fine tip, and clusters of small, pinky-white flowers in summer. It grows in woods and hedges, but can be a 'weed' of gardens.

Species information

Statistics

Height: 20-70cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to August

About

Enchanter's Nightshade is hairy plant that is actually a member of the willowherb family, rather than being related to Deadly Nightshade. It can be found in woodlands, hedgerows, gardens and even at the foot of old walls; it especially likes heavy, rich soils. It bears loose clusters of tiny, pinky-white flowers from June to August
and can become a problem 'weed' due to its persistent and creeping habit, spreading by rhizomes (underground stems).

How to identify

Enchanter's Nightshade has opposite oval leaves that are rounded at the base, but more pointed at the tip. Its flowers are very light pink and grow in branching clusters (the 'inflorescence') at the ends of the upright stems.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Despite it's evocative name, there are no known herbal uses or supposed powers attributed to Enchanter's Nightshade.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of buttercups in your lawn or nettles near your compost heap, to see who comes to visit? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.