Horse Nettle (Solanum carolinense)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Horse Nettle
Give a thumbs up Carolina Horsenettle
Give a thumbs up Horsenettle
Give a thumbs up Wild Tomato
Give a thumbs up Porcupine Tomato
Give a thumbs up Carolina Horse-Nettle
Give a thumbs up Devil's Tomato
Give a thumbs up Apple of Sodom

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Plant Height: 2 - 3 feet
Leaves: Fragrant
Other: When crushed, leaves are said to have the odor of potatoes.
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: 1/2 inch berries, resembling tiny tomatoes; dark green with light green stripes, maturing to yellow and orange. Each fruit contains numerous seeds.
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Other: Light violet. Flowers have prominent bright yellow anthers.
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Other: All parts of the plant contain toxic glycoalkaloids.
Pollinators: Bumblebees
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth


Photo gallery:

Posted by Skiekitty (Denver Metro - Zone 5a) on Oct 17, 2014 2:11 PM

Weed that has nasty prickles that embed in your skin. Known as "snakeberries" where I grew up in southern NM because of the "snakelike" pattern on the fruit. Was warned never to eat the fruits as they're poisonous. Don't know if they are, though. Annual plant here in CO.

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Posted by farmerdill (Augusta Georgia - Zone 8a) on Oct 18, 2014 10:28 AM

Interesting plant. When I was a kid, the old folks called it the Devil's Irish Potato. It does resemble a potato plant when young, plus the flowers and fruit are strikingly similar. Learned early to tell the difference when I was sent out to pull weeds. It is painful to pull one with your bare hands. Colorado potato beetles love them. Both the berries and the plant are toxic.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Do I have deadly nightshade? -- Yes, Solanum carolinense by starbookworm Aug 7, 2018 2:04 PM 6
Thistle? by Verac Jul 15, 2018 7:28 PM 2
need help Identifying this plant? by junior925 Jul 8, 2017 3:27 PM 4
Daylilies + weeds question by Barbalee Oct 3, 2016 6:53 AM 120
Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia Wildflowers by mellielong Aug 11, 2016 8:04 AM 38
What is this? by Radagast Jun 24, 2016 1:09 PM 3
Plant ID by kimlin May 31, 2016 6:46 PM 5
Pretty wildflower in Galveston by Marylyn Sep 19, 2012 10:56 AM 3
Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum); in Brazil by bonitin Jan 14, 2012 12:38 PM 10

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