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White Bryony

Bryonia dioica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Cucurbitaceae (Gourd)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
8 metres long
Hedgerows, scrub, wasteland, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Dark veined, greenish-white flowers in open clusters. The flowers are a maximum of 20mm across. 5 yellowish-orange anthers. Despite the name, Black Bryony (Tamus communis) is unrelated to White Bryony. They both look fairly similar and may be confused but White Bryony has got 5 petals per flower yet Black Bryony has 6 petals.
A smooth, globular red berry, present on female plants only.
White Bryony is a hairy perennial climber. It has long, curling tendrils which emerge from the bases of its leaf stalks. The leaves are pale green and variable in shape. Throughout the British Isles, White Bryony is by far the most common in the south and east of England. Outside of this area, it is fairly scarce.
Other Names:
English Mandrake, Ladies' Seal, Red Bryony, Red-berried Bryony, Tetterbury, Wild Hops, Wild Nep, Wild Vine.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Bryonia dioica, also known as the red bryony or white bryony, is a species of flowering plant in the family Cucurbitaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in hedgerows, woodlands, and rocky slopes. B. dioica is a woody, perennial vine that grows to a length of up to 10 meters. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and small, greenish-white flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is valued for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including rheumatism, arthritis, and respiratory problems. It is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate dry, rocky soil.


White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) is a climbing vine that is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is also known by its common names of Red-berried Bryony, English Mandrake, and Wild Hops. The plant is known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries to treat various ailments.

The White Bryony plant is a fast-growing, woody vine that can reach up to 20 feet in length. It has distinctive large leaves, with five to seven lobes, that are green on top and pale green on the bottom. In the summer, the plant produces small, greenish-white flowers that are followed by red berries in the fall.

The root of the White Bryony plant is the part that is used for its medicinal properties. It contains a number of compounds, including alkaloids and glycosides, that have been found to have various therapeutic effects. Some of the most commonly reported uses of White Bryony include the treatment of digestive problems, such as constipation, indigestion, and colic. The plant has also been used to treat joint pain, skin conditions, and respiratory problems.

In traditional medicine, White Bryony root was used in decoctions and tinctures, and it was sometimes combined with other herbs to enhance its effects. However, it is important to note that the plant can be toxic if taken in large doses, and it should never be used without the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.

In recent years, scientific research has confirmed some of the traditional uses of White Bryony, and has identified new potential therapeutic applications for the plant. For example, studies have shown that the root may have anti-inflammatory effects, and that it may help to regulate the digestive system.

White Bryony is a species of plant that is known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. In addition to its medicinal uses, the plant also has some interesting cultural and historical significance.

One of the most interesting cultural associations with White Bryony is its connection to the mandrake plant, which is mentioned in the Bible. According to legend, the mandrake root was believed to have magical powers and was often associated with witchcraft. White Bryony was sometimes used as a substitute for the mandrake root, and it was believed to have similar properties.

Another interesting fact about White Bryony is its relationship with the Hop plant. The Hop plant is well known for its use in brewing beer, and White Bryony has also been used for this purpose. In the past, the plant was used to add bitterness to beer, and it was also used to make a medicinal tea.

In modern times, White Bryony is still used as a medicinal plant, and it is becoming increasingly popular due to its natural, non-toxic properties. However, it is important to use caution when using this plant, as it can be toxic if taken in large doses.

White Bryony has a number of unique features and characteristics that make it a valuable and interesting plant. One of its key features is its hardy nature, which allows it to grow in a variety of different environments, including rocky slopes and waste areas. This makes it a useful plant for controlling erosion and stabilizing slopes.

Another notable characteristic of White Bryony is its climbing habit. The plant is able to climb trees and other tall structures using its tendrils, which makes it an ideal plant for creating natural privacy screens or for decorating walls and fences. Additionally, the plant's large leaves and attractive red berries make it an attractive addition to any garden or landscape.

White Bryony also has a number of benefits for wildlife. For example, the plant's flowers are a source of nectar for a variety of different insects, including bees and butterflies. The plant's red berries are also an important food source for birds, particularly in the winter months when other food sources may be scarce.

In conclusion, White Bryony is a versatile and valuable plant that has a range of uses and benefits. Whether used for its medicinal properties, as a landscaping plant, or as a source of food for wildlife, White Bryony is a fascinating and worthwhile addition to any garden or natural area.


White Bryony filmed at Devil's Dyke, Newmarket Racecourse, Suffolk on the 25th June 2022.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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