These very beautiful bittersweet nightshade berries found ripening on the vine are native to Europe and Asia, and arrived roughly in the 1860's and were used by the Makah Indians as a medicine for stomach issues. Now naturalized throughout most of North America, this relative to the potato is an invasive weed that can grow in huge thickets and can compete with native plants. This plant is known to be VERY DANGEROUS to both humans and other animals and has caused people to die. It is said that once the berries are fully ripe (when they are bright red) that the amount of solanine - the toxic alkaloid, is greatly reduced. Seeds are spread by the common song sparrow and a few other birds that eat them, who are unaffected by the poisons the berries carry.
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