Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense)

Solanum carolinense is known by the common names Carolina Horsenettle, Horse Nettle, Bull Nettle, or Ball Nettle. There are two species - Solanum carolinense and Solanum sisymbriifolium (Sticky Nightshade) – that have similar flowers. The leaves of Solanum sisymbriifolium are deeply indented compared with those of Solanum carolinense.

Solanum carolinense
grows widely in this area. At Fort Yargo State Park I’ve seen plants along from the boat launch at Section B just where the trail crosses the drainage and heads back into the woods (segment 2).

A young plant in the shade. Insects have not done much damage to this plant yet.

A plant growing in the full sun.

A leaf showing insect damage.

The stem has nasty prickles that scratch skin and snag clothes..

Flower buds.

A single flower, closed. Flowers close at night.

A single flower, open. The flowers may be distinctly bluish when they first open but fade to white as they age.

A cluster of flowers, open.


Fruit. These look like tiny tomatoes. They are related to the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum).

Solanum carolinense (Carolina horsenettle) is native to the most states in the continental United States and in Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Solanum carolinense (Carolina Horsenettle)

- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Solanum carolinense

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Horse Nettle (Solanum carolinense)

- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Solanum carolinense

- Missouri Plants: Solanum carolinense

Related posts:

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index

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