Characteristics of Poisonberry Tree (Cestrum nocturnum) in the Wild

Cestrum nocturnum
Poisonberry or Lady of the night (Cestrum nocturnum) is a species of plant in the family Solanaceae that is native to the Caribbean and Central America but has been naturalized in many parts of the world as an ornamental tree.

Besides being called Poisonberry, Cestrum nocturnum is also often referred to as Lady of the nightNight-blooming jasmine, Night-blooming jessamine, Night-scented jessamine, and Night-scented cestrum. Although this tree is not a true Jasmine.

Poisonberry is an ornamental tree and medicinal tree that grows a lot in Indonesia, known as “Arum Dalu” which is sometimes called “Sedap Malam” because of the aroma of flowers that bloom and emit a fragrant aroma at night.

All members of the Solanaceae family contain an alkaloid toxin called solanine, although some members of this family are routinely consumed without any ill effects. The most commonly reported problems associated with Cestrum nocturnum are respiratory problems from the smell and symptoms of fever after ingestion.

Some people, especially those who are sensitive to breathing or have asthma, have reported difficulty breathing, irritation of the nose and throat, headaches, nausea, or other symptoms when exposed to the strong scent of the flower.

Some plant experts describe the Poisonberry as “poisonous” and warn that ingesting parts of the tree, especially the fruit, can cause high temperatures, rapid pulse, excess salivation, and gastritis.

Knowledge is needed to process parts of the Poisonberry tree to be used as medicine.

 

Characteristics of Poisonberry Leaf

Cestrum nocturnum Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/kaitlynkamieniecki

The leaves are simple, narrowly lanceolate, 6-20 cm long, and 2-5 cm wide, smooth, glossy, and tapered. At first, the leaves are downy hair, but with age they become glabrous. The petiole is 0.8-2 cm long.

 

Characteristics of Poisonberry Flower

Cestrum nocturnum Flower
Source: inaturalist.org/carmadis

The flowers are greenish-white, with a slender tubular crown 2-2.5 cm long with five acute lobes, 10-13 mm in diameter when open at night, and produced in cymose inflorescences.

They are clustered, the panicle branching sparsely, on the axis of the inflorescence there are herbaceous bracts. The five sepals are fused to form a bell-shaped petal, about 2 mm long and having five-pointed ends, which are slightly enlarged, ribbed, and pointed on the fruit. The inside and outside of the petals are hairy.

The flowers give off a strong and sweet fragrance at night.

 

Characteristics of Poisonberry Fruit

Cestrum nocturnum Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/jade65

The berries are 10 mm long and 5 mm in diameter, white or purplish. There are also varieties with yellowish berries.

 

Characteristics of Poisonberry Tree

Cestrum nocturnum Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/maremimar

Poisonberry grows as an evergreen shrub or small tree with slender branches that can grow up to 4 meters in height.

Poisonberry is widely naturalized in tropical and subtropical areas around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, southern China, and the southernmost United States. The tree has been classified as a weed in several countries.

 

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