White bryony

The White bryony was growing in the garden when we came to this house, growing strongly over and through a redcurrant bush. You can’t believe how fast it grows.

Apparently it is mainly found in the south and east of England, which fits because that’s where we are. It’s a climber and it wraps its curling tendrils around the stems of other plants. I have not seen it actually strangle another plant, but I know that other climbers do. It is amazing to watch it searching for a stem to cling to. A growing tip waves around in the air, seeking out its host, and apparently it can connect through smell.

It flowers between May and August and has these white and green-veined flowers. Later on it produces shiny red berries. It is highly poisonous, particularly the roots. The flowers are a give-away that the plant is poisonous, although I can’t exactly say why it strikes me that way.

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