Woody Nightshade by Nicola Slaney


Designer: Nicola Slaney
Shape: 99/8
Limited Edition: 25

At RSPB Leighton Moss, a succession of marsh flowers including woody nightshade bloom along the reserve tracks. The plant is a perennial vine, which scrambles over other plants, capable of reaching a height of four metres where it discovers fallen tree trunks to envelope. The flowers are in star-shaped loose clusters, with five purple petals and yellow stamens bringing a double flash of colour to the well-worn paths of the reserve.

In the Middle Ages, the plant was thought to be effective against witchcraft and was sometimes hung around the neck of cattle to protect them. At Leighton Moss, cattle graze the inner marsh in order to maintain suitable conditions for the birds at all times of year. The limestone grassland and woodland supports a large variety of nationally-important plants, including woody nightshade.

With a deftness of touch and colour, the designer placed her flowers above an assortment of woody nightshade berries and leaves. The result binds everything about this extraordinary plant into one delightful piece