Black swallow-wort is native to Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain. It is an invasive in
North America, where it initially escaped from a botanical garden in 1854.
Identification: These vines have oval-shaped leaves with
pointed tips, 3-4" (7.6-10 cm) × 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) wide, growing in opposing pairs along the vine.
They reach heights of 6' (1.8 m).
Small ⅛-¼" (3.2-6.3 mm) star-shaped flowers are dark purple to nearly black, with white hairs,
and occur in clusters
of 1-5. Fruits are slender and tapered, 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long and ¼" (6.3 mm) wide, resembling
those tiny hyperatomic peppers that spice up many Asian dishes. Older fruits turn from green
Photo by urtica on Flickr (Jenn Forman Orth). Flowers are about ¼" (6.3 mm) across.