Uncover Hidden Flowers meanings

The most popular meaning for bittersweet or woody nightshade is truth and honesty.

It also symbolizes friendly love or more aptly - platonic love.  Looking at it from the point of view of witchcraft, it’s a flower that you can use for protection from evil spell as well as healing rituals.  As a part of a cleansing or a protection ritual, it is believed that it sends out more power to the universe - keeping negativity and other bad things away from you.

  • Name:  Bittersweet
  • Color:  The petals make a vibrant color of purple around the yellow stamen making the woody nightshade a more stunning-looking and attractive flower.
  • Shape:  The purple petals on the flower form a five pointed star.
  • Fact:  The bittersweet flower is most commonly known as the woody nightshade or the climbing nightshade. It is actually a flowering potato vine that is native to East Asia and Europe but can easily adapt to various environment like lowlands, wood areas as well as marshland.
  • Poisonous:  Bittersweet is a highly toxic plant.  All its parts are poisonous.
  • Number of Petals:  Bittersweet flowers have five petals.
  • Victorian Interpretation:  The language of flowers in the Victorian age symbolizes the bittersweet flower as being truthful or honest.
  • Blossom Time:  May to September.


For its poisonous properties, there are bad superstitions tied to the bittersweet flower.  A house that has many of these plants growing around it is a clear warning sign to steer clear of the place.  It’s also believed that the bittersweet flower can take the form of a beautiful enchantress.  That’s another reason to steer away from it…or is it?

On another note, woody nightshade was also thought to be consumed by the priests of the goddess Belladona.  Infused into their drink, bittersweet is a big part of their ritual for invoking the assistance of the goddess of war.

Farmers make use of bittersweet in a different way. They put charms of these berries on the necks of their livestock and other animals that they think are under the evil eye.

  • The Shape:  Woody nightshade is plant with flowers that form a star.  For fully bloomed flowers, the petals curl down on the base of the stem.  As for the stamen and the style, this just sticks out in the middle of the petals of bittersweet.
  • Petals:  Bittersweet has five long and pointy tipped petals.
  • Numerology:  In numerology, bittersweet falls into the category of expression number 11.
  • Color:  As new buds, it is surrounded by green hairy leaflets then later comes out in deep purple. And then, you’ll soon find an amazing ring of yellow green bright spots on the base of the petal. As the flowers mature, it turns into a fruit in varying sizes. It starts out as color green then turns into yellow and then orange until it comes in a brilliant red color. 

Herbalism and Medicine:  

Besides the ornamental use of bittersweet, it’s also used in medicine. Herbal mixture with abundant bittersweet extract can help in problems associated with the skin, the mucous membrane and also the joints.  Allergies as well as herpes are some of the known conditions that bittersweet treats.

Called by other names like felon-wood, you might be thinking that this has something to do with criminal justice.  Rather, it relates to whitlow which means the inflammation of the finger right around where the nail is.  Bittersweet berries are found to be of great help in toning down the inflammation.

It was also a folk remedy for suppressed menstruation and chronic liver ailments. The American Indians also makes use of it for dysentery and diarrhea.

By Flo Saul
Aug 17, 2012