Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: White Bryony
Bryonia alba

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bryonia (bry-OH-nee-yuh) (Info)
Species: alba (AL-ba) (Info)

Vines and Climbers

under 6 in. (15 cm)
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Dwynegen
Thumbnail #1 of Bryonia alba by Dwynegen

By tweeber
Thumbnail #2 of Bryonia alba by tweeber

By tweeber
Thumbnail #3 of Bryonia alba by tweeber

By scirpidiella
Thumbnail #4 of Bryonia alba by scirpidiella


1 positive
No neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive scirpidiella On Jun 25, 2014, scirpidiella from Pińczw
Poland (Zone 6b) wrote:

This species - Bryonia alba - has numerous common names: White Bryony, English Mandrake, Wild Vine, Wild Hops, Wild Nep, Ladies' Seal, Tetterbury, Snakeweed, Devil's Turnip, Bastard Turnip.
It is frost hardy (to zone 6) perennial climber to 4m (=14ft) tall, common in Poland (but not native to this country) in wild state (roadsides, hedges) and gardens.
The thick tuberous roots were been used to falsify the carved dolls called "Homunculus" (= little Homo, originally made from Mandragora roots).
Also medicinal and strong poisonous plant.
Very ornamental (lovely leaves and numerous black fruits), strong climber, not noxious (non invasive) in Poland.

Negative tweeber On May 15, 2006, tweeber from West Valley City, UT (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've heard it was introduced in the 1970's. It is originally from England. Washington has it listed as a class-b noxious weed. It is mainly spread by birds eating the berries and by the berries dropping. I believe it is a problem plant. The vines can grow up to 150 feet and cover the tops of trees. It dies in the winter and the dead vines produce a mat that collects snow, weighs down trees and damages them. I've seen some trees on my property overrun by white bryony that have died. The whole plant and berries are poisonous, but can be used for medicinal purposes. I wouldn't recommend getting rid of the plant unless you wear protective clothing. It can irritate the skin easily from the liquid in the roots and stems. The only way I've heard to effectively get rid of it is damaging or removing the root in the spring when it begins to sprout. There may be more ways, but I haven't heard of them. Spraying doesn't work from what I've heard.

Negative TrentsWife On Apr 29, 2005, TrentsWife from Eugene, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

Although on some other sites I have read it is said to not grow in Oregon, but it is on the Noxious Weed list in 42 states. And I can attest that it does grow in Oregon. If you get this plant in your yard, I strongly advise you to remove it. Right now, in late April, it has white flowers on it, which will soon change to dark red or almost black berries. It is said that getting the juice of the berries on your skin will cause severe urinary/bladder problems. If livestock eat it, it causes symptoms similar to locoweed, i.e: hallucinations, bowel obstruction, ect.
The only reason I left this plant in the ground, is because I wasn't sure what it was. But I am now. And I am going to remove it. I unfortunately have some digging to do, because it is a tuber plant. It's also otherwise known as Devil's Turnip.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Eugene, Oregon
Trenton, Utah

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