Enchanter's nightshade Circaea lutetiana

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
enchanter's nightshade


The plant in question, commonly known as Enchanter's nightshade, has a distinct appearance that is characterized by several key features. It typically bears heart-shaped leaves with a slightly toothed margin which are soft to the touch and often have a rich green hue. The stem of Enchanter's nightshade is typically upright and supports these leaves at intervals. Enchanter's nightshade's most noticeable feature is its delicate, small white flowers. These flowers possess two petals that are notched at the tip, giving them a unique look as if meticulously clipped with tiny shears. These blossoms are grouped together in sparse, slender spikes that arise from the leaf axils. The petals, being small, create an understated floral display that can appear frothy or cloud-like amidst the green foliage. Once the flowering period concludes, the plant produces tiny, globular fruits. These fruits have a slightly bristly surface and can stick to clothing or animal fur, facilitating the plant's distribution across different areas. The overall habit of Enchanter's nightshade exudes a delicate charm, with its gentle white flowers nestled among heart-shaped leaves, giving the plant a storybook appeal, as if plucked from a fairy's garden. Despite its charming appearance, it is a hardy plant that is often found in woodlands and shaded areas.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Broad-leaf Enchanter's Nightshade, Enchanter's Nightshade, Great Witch Herb, Paris Nightshade.

    • Common names

      Circaea intermedia, Circaea cordata, Circaea alpina subsp. imeretina, Circaea x sterilis, Circaea lutetiana var. villosa, Circaea lutetiana var. canadensis, Circaea quadrivulnera.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Circaea lutetiana, commonly known as Enchanter's Nightshade, is not regarded as a toxic plant to humans. It does not contain harmful toxins that could cause serious poisoning if ingested. Consequently, there are no well-documented symptoms of poisoning by Enchanter's Nightshade for humans since it's not considered a poisonous plant.

    • To pets

      Enchanter's Nightshade is not known to be toxic to pets either. It is not listed among the common poisonous plants that affect dogs, cats, or other domestic animals, and as such, ingesting parts of the plant is unlikely to result in any significant symptoms of toxicity. However, as with any non-dietary plant material, consumption of large amounts could potentially cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some pets.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-3 feet (30-91 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-61 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Europe Asia


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ecosystem support – Circaea lutetiana, commonly known as enchanter's nightshade, provides food and habitat for various insects and wildlife, thereby supporting biodiversity.
    • Erosion control – The plant's root system helps to stabilize soil, reducing erosion in wooded areas where it commonly grows.
    • Shade-tolerant – Enchanter's nightshade thrives in shaded environments, making it ideal for understory planting in woodland gardens.
    • Ornamental use – With its delicate white flowers and attractive foliage, enchanter's nightshade can add beauty to shade gardens and naturalized areas.
    • Low maintenance – It is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care once established in suitable growing conditions.
    • Wildlife habitat – Provides shelter and breeding grounds for insects and small animals within its native ecosystem.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Enchanter's nightshade has traditionally been used for its potential anti-inflammatory effects.
    • Astringent: It is said to have astringent properties, useful in the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues.
    • Wound healing: The plant has been used in folk remedies for the treatment of wounds, purportedly speeding up the healing process.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Enchanter's nightshade, due to its association with magical folklore, can be used in various mystical and spiritual practices such as rituals or creating protective amulets.
    • The foliage of enchanter's nightshade may serve as an indicator species for ancient woodland when conducting ecological surveys or land assessments.
    • In historical literature and art, enchanter's nightshade may be referenced or depicted to evoke a sense of enchantment or as a symbol of witchcraft.
    • Enchanter's nightshade seeds have hooked hairs, which allow them to attach to animal fur, assisting in the teaching of seed dispersal strategies in educational settings.
    • Ecologists might use enchanter's nightshade as a case study for plant adaptation in relation to shade tolerance, due to its growth in low-light forest floors.
    • Gardeners might plant enchanter's nightshade in a shade garden as a native ground cover to create a more diversified and resilient plant community.
    • The plant may be studied for its ecological interactions with pollinators, especially for understanding species-specific relationships in woodland environments.
    • Enchanter's nightshade can be an object of amateur botany hobbies, such as for pressing and mounting due to its delicate flowers and interesting leaf shape.
    • Photographers and artists may use enchanter's nightshade as a subject for capturing the understated beauty of native woodland flora.
    • Due to its hardy nature, enchanter's nightshade might be used in erosion control on shaded slopes within its native habitat.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Enchanter's Nightshade is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Enchanter's Nightshade is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Magical Association: Named after the enchantress Circe from Greek mythology, Circaea lutetiana, commonly known as Enchanter's Nightshade, is often associated with witchcraft, enchantment, and magic.
    • Mystery: The plant's elusive and subtle appearance lends itself to symbolizing the mysterious or that which is not immediately apparent.
    • Protection: Traditionally believed to ward off negative energies and spells, Enchanter's Nightshade is sometimes seen as a symbol of protection.
    • Feminine Power: With its mythological connections to Circe, the plant can also be symbolic of feminine power and seduction.

Every week
500 - 2500 Lux
Every year
Spring-Early Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Enchanter's nightshade should be watered regularly, aiming to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. It is best to water deeply once or twice a week, providing about 1 gallon of water per watering session, depending on the size of the plant and the humidity levels. During periods of drought or extreme heat, you may need to water more frequently, while in cooler, wetter periods, less frequent watering is necessary. Make sure the plant has good drainage to prevent root rot, and reduce watering during the winter months when plant growth slows down.

  • sunLight

    Enchanter's nightshade thrives in partial to full shade, making it an ideal plant for woodland gardens or shaded areas of a landscape. It is best to place it where it will be shielded from the harsh midday sun, which can scorch the leaves. Early morning or dappled sunlight is ideal to encourage healthy growth without overwhelming the plant.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Enchanter's nightshade is hardy in a range of temperatures and can typically survive in zones 4 through 8. It prefers a cooler environment, usually thriving in temperatures between 60°F to 70°F. The plant can survive minimum winter temperatures down to around -30°F, but the optimal growing range should be maintained during the growing season for the best health and flowering.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning enchanter's nightshade is primarily for aesthetic purposes and to remove any dead or damaged foliage to maintain the health of the plant. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut back old stems to tidy up the plant and encourage bushier growth. Pruning can be done annually or as needed when the plant appears overgrown or unkempt.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Enchanter's nightshade prefers moist, rich, well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. The best soil mix might include garden soil, peat, and perlite to ensure proper moisture retention and drainage.

  • plantRepotting

    Enchanter's nightshade typically does not require frequent repotting and can be done every 2-3 years or when the plant outgrows its current pot.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Enchanter's nightshade thrives in moderate to high humidity levels, ideally ranging from 60% to 80%.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep in moderate light, moist soil; high humidity; avoid dry heat.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, moist soil; naturalize in suitable climates.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Enchanter's nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) begins its life cycle as a seed, which, upon finding suitable moist and shaded soil conditions, germinates in spring. The seedling establishes a small rosette of leaves and then elongates its stem to produce heart-shaped, oppositely arranged leaves on a sparsely branched stem. During the early to mid-summer, the plant produces small white flowers in racemes, with a characteristic two-lobed ovary and two stamens, which are pollinated by insects. After pollination, these flowers develop into a small, burr-like fruit with tiny hooks, which disperse by attaching to passing animals or through water. The plant is a perennial, so above-ground structures die back in the autumn, but the rootstock survives underground to sprout new growth the following spring. Over the winter, the plant can also spread vegetatively through rhizomes, establishing new clonal colonies nearby.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagation for Enchanter's Nightshade, Circaea lutetiana, is through division of its roots. This process is best undertaken in the springtime, right before the growing season begins. To propagate by division, one should carefully dig up the plant, ensuring as much of the root system remains intact as possible. Once excavated, the roots can be gently separated into smaller sections, each with its own set of shoots. These sections should then be replanted immediately in moist soil, at the same depth they were originally growing. Proper care and watering will help these divisions establish themselves, leading to new, healthy plants that will mature and spread to form dense clumps in their natural woodland habitats.