Additional notes (click to expand)


Culpeper: ‘Of briony, both white and black ... purge phlegm and watery humours, but they trouble the stomach much, they are very good for dropsies; the white is most in use and is admirable good for the fits of the Mother; both of them externally used take away freckles, Sunburning and Morphew [= ‘a scurfy eruption’] from the face, and cleanse filthy ulcers; it is but a churlish purge, but being let alone can do no harm.’
Culpeper, Nicholas. (1650). A Physical Directory . London, Peter Cole.


Previously grown as Bryonia dioica


Highly poisonous roots and berries, containing the glycoside bryonidin and the resin bryoresin. The poisonous compounds are known as cucurbitacins.
Oakeley, Dr. H. F. . (2013). The Gardens of the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis. link

Toxicity due to bryonin alkaloid.
Professor Anthony Dayan, 2021

Geographical distribution

  • Africa, Northern Africa, Algeria
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Morocco
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Tunisia
  • Europe, Northern Europe
  • Europe, Northern Europe, Great Britain
  • Europe, Southeastern Europe
  • Europe, Southwestern Europe


Bryonia cretica subsp. dioica (Jacq.) Tutin

Genus: Bryonia
Species: cretica L.
SubSpecies: dioica (Jacq.) Tutin
Common names: White Bryony, Devils Cherry
Pharmacopoeia Londinensis name: Bryonia
Distribution summary: Europe, N Africa
Habit: Perennial
Hardiness: H5 - Hardy; cold winter
Habitat: Dry grassland, scrub, meadows, open woodland, roadsides
Garden status: Currently grown
Garden location: Pharmacopoeia Londinensis 1618 'Roots' (HSE 3)
Flowering months: May, June
Reason for growing: Medicinal, toxic

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