Additional notes (click to expand)


Used internally to induce vomiting in the Middle Ages
North, Pamela. (1967). Poisonous Plants & Fungi in colour, Blanford Press

Culpeper: regarded Bryonia dioica, white bryony (q.v.), as having the same properties.
Culpeper, Nicholas. (1650). A Physical Directory . London, Peter Cole.


In Pharmacopoeia Londinensis (1618) 2nd edit (roots)= Sigilli B[eatae]Mariae, Bryoniae nigrae. This is in Parkinson (1640) as Bryonia sylvestris nigra, Common Black Bryonie, Sigilum Beatae Mariae.
Parkinson, John (1640) 'Theatrum Botanicum' London, Thomas Cotes

A synonym of Dioscorea communis.
Plants of the World online, Kew Science link



Notes: The roots and berries are highly toxic, produce violent purgation and ‘death comes rapidly’ (Medical Botany, 1997).
Lewis, WH, Elvin-Lewis, MPF. (2003). Medical Botany, Wiley

Geographical distribution

  • Africa, Macaronesia, Canary Is.
  • Africa, Macaronesia, Madeira
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Algeria
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Morocco
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Tunisia
  • Asia-Temperate, Caucasus
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Iran
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Iraq
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Israel
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Jordan
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Lebanon-Syria
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Turkey
  • Europe, Eastern Europe, Ukraine
  • Europe, Middle Europe
  • Europe, Northern Europe, Great Britain
  • Europe, Southeastern Europe
  • Europe, Southwestern Europe

Tamus communis L.

Genus: Tamus
Species: communis L.
Common names: Black Bryony
Pharmacopoeia Londinensis name: Bryonia nigra
Distribution summary: N.Africa to W.Asia
Habit: Perennial
Hardiness: H5 - Hardy; cold winter
Habitat: Lowland, open woodland, grassland, scrub and verges
Garden status: Not currently grown
Flowering months: May, June, July
Reason for growing: Medicinal, toxic

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