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Black Bryony

Tamus communis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Dioscoreaceae (Yam)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
3 metres tall
Fields, hedgerows, roadsides, scrub, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Green, 6 petals
Black Bryony is a captivating perennial plant native to the UK, known for its small, inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers. The blossoms are borne in clusters and have a subtle beauty, complemented by heart-shaped leaves. The plant's tendrils gracefully entwine, creating an elegant display. Despite its unassuming appearance, Black Bryony holds a unique charm, especially when showcased in a visual presentation set to background music, bringing out the enchanting details of its delicate flowers and foliage.
The fruit of Black Bryony is a small, round berry that transitions from green to a deep shade of red as it ripens. These berries, often observed in the late summer and autumn, contribute to the plant's overall appeal. While visually striking, it's important to note that Black Bryony berries are toxic if ingested and should be handled with care. The vibrant red berries, set against the backdrop of the plant's green foliage, add a touch of colour to the natural landscape, enhancing the visual allure of Black Bryony.
The leaves of Black Bryony are heart-shaped and possess a glossy, deep green hue. These luscious leaves are arranged alternately along the plant's slender stems, providing an elegant backdrop to the inconspicuous flowers and, later, the small red berries. The leaves contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of Black Bryony, offering a rich, vibrant contrast to the plant's delicate blossoms and enhancing its visual charm in the natural environment.
Black Bryony does not typically possess a distinctive aroma. The plant is more known for its visual appeal, featuring inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers and glossy heart-shaped leaves, rather than for any notable fragrance. The focus of its allure lies in its visual characteristics and the overall aesthetic it brings to the natural surroundings.
Other Names:
Black Bindweed, Blackeye Root, Common Bryony, Lady's Seal, Tamier, Wild Hops.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Tamus communis, also known as the black bryony or common black bryony, is a species of flowering plant in the family Dioscoreaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in hedgerows, woodlands, and rocky slopes. T. communis 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.


Black bryony, also known as Tamus communis, is a perennial climbing plant that is native to Europe and western Asia. This plant is well known for its distinctive black berries and heart-shaped leaves. It is often used as a decorative plant, or in traditional medicine for its various health benefits. In this article, we will take a closer look at the plant and its properties.


Black bryony is a climbing plant that can grow up to 15 feet in length. Its stems are thick and covered in black spines, while its leaves are green and heart-shaped. The plant produces small white flowers in the summer, which later develop into black berries. These berries are toxic if consumed and are often used as a deterrent to protect the plant from being eaten by herbivores.

Health Benefits

Despite its toxic berries, black bryony has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its various health benefits. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it useful for treating joint pain and other types of pain. Additionally, black bryony is thought to be effective for treating respiratory issues such as coughs and colds, as well as digestive problems such as indigestion and constipation.


Black bryony is a relatively easy plant to cultivate and grows best in full sun or partial shade. It requires well-drained soil and is resistant to drought. The plant is also a vigorous grower and can be invasive, so it should be grown with caution. It is important to note that the berries of black bryony are toxic, so it is best to keep it away from children and pets.

Toxicology and Safety

It is important to note that black bryony berries are toxic if consumed and can cause serious health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, and heart palpitations. The plant's roots and stems also contain toxic compounds, so it is best to avoid handling the plant without gloves. In traditional medicine, black bryony is used in small quantities and is not recommended for internal use without the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Cultural Significance

Black bryony has a long history of cultural significance, both in Europe and beyond. In ancient times, the plant was believed to have magical properties and was used in various rituals and ceremonies. It was also believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and was often used to decorate homes and public spaces during festivals and other celebrations.

In some cultures, black bryony was used in love spells and was thought to bring good luck and happiness in relationships. It was also believed to have the power to heal emotional wounds and promote inner peace.

Today, black bryony is still considered a symbol of strength and resilience, and is often used in gardens and public spaces as a decorative plant. Its unique appearance and cultural significance make it a popular choice for landscaping and horticulture.

Traditional Medicine Uses

In traditional medicine, black bryony has been used for a variety of purposes. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it a popular choice for treating joint pain, back pain, and other types of pain. It is also used to treat respiratory issues such as coughs and colds, as well as digestive problems such as indigestion and constipation.

In addition to its internal uses, black bryony has also been used topically to treat skin conditions and wounds. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties make it an effective treatment for conditions such as skin infections, eczema, and other types of skin irritation.

It is important to note that traditional medicine uses of black bryony are not backed by scientific evidence and should not be used without the guidance of a healthcare professional. Additionally, the plant's toxic compounds can be dangerous if consumed in large quantities, so it is important to use it with caution.

Conservation and Cultivation

Black bryony is not considered to be threatened or endangered, and is widely cultivated for its ornamental and medicinal properties. However, as with any plant species, it is important to cultivate black bryony in a sustainable manner to preserve its natural habitat and biodiversity.

When cultivating black bryony, it is important to choose a suitable location and to provide the plant with well-drained soil and adequate sunlight. It is also important to keep in mind the plant's invasive nature and to contain it as necessary to prevent it from spreading.

In conclusion, black bryony is a versatile plant with a range of health benefits and cultural significance. Despite its toxic compounds, it is a popular choice for decoration and traditional medicine. If you are interested in growing black bryony, it is important to keep in mind its invasive nature and the need for caution when handling and using it.

30 Facts About Black Bryony

  1. Scientific Name: Black Bryony is scientifically known as Tamus communis.

  2. Family: It belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family.

  3. Habitat: Black Bryony is found in various habitats, including woodlands, hedgerows, fields, roadsides, waste ground, and damp shaded areas.

  4. Climbing Plant: It is a climbing plant with twining stems that can reach lengths of several meters.

  5. Leaves: The leaves are heart-shaped, glossy, and deep green in color.

  6. Flowers: The inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers are arranged in clusters and bloom in late spring to early summer.

  7. Berries: The plant produces small, round berries that start green and turn red as they ripen.

  8. Toxicity: All parts of Black Bryony, especially the berries, are toxic if ingested and can cause severe health issues.

  9. Propagation: It reproduces through both seeds and tuberous roots.

  10. Wildlife: Despite its toxicity, Black Bryony provides cover and habitat for insects, birds, and other wildlife.

  11. Deciduous: Black Bryony is a deciduous plant, shedding its leaves in the autumn.

  12. Native Range: It is native to Europe, including the United Kingdom.

  13. Fruit Dispersal: Birds are often responsible for the dispersal of Black Bryony seeds through their droppings.

  14. Herbaceous Perennial: Black Bryony is classified as a herbaceous perennial, meaning it lives for more than two years.

  15. Traditional Uses: Historically, parts of the plant were used in traditional medicine, though this is strongly discouraged due to its toxicity.

  16. Cultural Significance: In folklore, Black Bryony is associated with protection against evil spirits.

  17. Tuberous Roots: The plant has tuberous roots that store energy and nutrients.

  18. Climbing Mechanism: Black Bryony climbs by winding its stem around other vegetation.

  19. Preferred Soil: It tends to thrive in well-drained, fertile soils.

  20. Flowering Period: The flowering period typically occurs from May to June.

  21. Growth Rate: Black Bryony can be quite vigorous in its growth under suitable conditions.

  22. Conservation Status: It is not considered endangered and is a common species in its range.

  23. Invasive Potential: In some regions, Black Bryony can exhibit invasive tendencies.

  24. Fruit Consumption Warning: The bright red berries may attract attention, but their toxicity warrants caution and avoidance.

  25. Dioecious Plant: Black Bryony plants are typically dioecious, meaning individual plants are either male or female.

  26. Wildflower Gardens: In controlled environments, it can be cultivated in wildflower gardens for its aesthetic appeal.

  27. Dormancy: The plant goes dormant in winter, losing its leaves until the next growing season.

  28. Herbal Dyes: Historically, the plant was used to produce yellow and green dyes.

  29. Bee Attraction: The flowers attract pollinators like bees, contributing to local ecosystems.

  30. Folk Names: Black Bryony is also known by various folk names, including "Ladies' Seal" and "Wild Hops."


Black Bryony filmed in many locations throughout 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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