Cultivation of Bryonia alba, the white walnut

We continue to make sheets of plants where we tell the main characteristics of each one (will we ever complete all of them?). In today’s article we mention  Bryonia alba,  a crop of the cucurbit family. We are going to tell you a little about the well-known “white walnut”, its needs (climate, irrigation, fertilizer, etc.), its peculiarities and its medicinal properties.


This plant is cataloged within the cucurbit family. Surely this family will sound familiar to you because it houses a few well-known species to grow in the garden. They are melon ( Cucumis melo ),  cucumber ( Cucumis sativus ),  watermelon ( Citrullus lanatus ),  etc. Most of the members of this family are herbaceous and we could be saying names to extend this article more than we should.

The family is divided into many subcategories ( Zanonioideae  and  Cucurbitoideae ), of which it also has other subcategories. In short, a very large family.

Well, let’s talk about  Bryonia alba  or white walnut. Although it is short, it is a climber. Something similar to zucchini (normal, it shares a family, too), and if we let it grow and climb it can reach more than 3 meters.

It is a highly branched plant, with thin, non-woody stems, white and yellow flowers, and grows in a lot of places, such as:

  • Edges of roads and highways
  • Around fences or fences
  • Walls
  • Public gardens

It has a fairly long flowering period, which goes from July to September, and produces black berries (although we will also see them in other colors, such as red or greenish).


It is perfectly suitable for our garden, especially for its ornamental qualities. As a climber it goes very well to cover fences or areas where we seek some privacy.

Bryonia alba is usually quite rustic. It supports low temperatures quite well. Being the climatic conditions and the nutrient supply good, it grows with great intensity, occupying a large space of land.

It is grown in full sun, although it will not matter much if it partly has shady areas (due to the situation of the house, tall trees, etc.). Regarding this, we should not worry.


Let’s talk about soil, which as we usually say, is one of the main tools to guarantee the success or failure of a crop. It requires humid areas , so the waterings should be moderate. However, it is necessary to avoid excess water, which will only cause rotting and root suffocation .

The best, moist soils, perfectly padded, with regular contributions of organic matter or complex fertilizers  (here we tell you how they are) and the growth of  Bryonia alba will be very pronounced.

Making a summary of what we have commented. Maintain abundant moisture in the soil (we can help ourselves with a contribution of organic matter that cushion the soil), a mulching or other system, have a soil pH close to neutral), or Sun or a little shade (it is indifferent) and have good drainage or, at least, not prime with irrigation.

ERROR: I notice the plant a little yellow, that is, it is drying out, it needs more water. No, this is not usually the case. Yellowing due to dryness or excess water is quite easy to differentiate.


It would not stop being another of the many plants that have some irritating part, if it were not for its succulent and “appetizing” berries. A kind of black cherry tomato (although it goes through several colors) that, although as adults we will know that we cannot take it, for a child that logic is different.

Bryonia alba is poisonous in all its parts, especially the berry. We cannot run the risk of letting it be located in an area where children can access.

Already put, here you also have other toxic plants  that you will have to keep away from the little ones in the house.


There are many homeopathy blogs where this plant goes through the roof, which is highly regarded by followers of homeopathy . This form of treatment consists of diluting a compound until it is found in very low proportions (0.000…). In this case, there is no chance of poisoning because the concentration is very low.

Well, although we are normally defenders of medicinal plant extracts (simply because they are used to create drugs in modern medicine), we do not share the topic of homeopathy  (but hey, as far as possible, we are respecting it). Therefore, if you need more information about  Bryonia alba and homeopathy, there is a lot of information in other blogs.

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