Random Plant: Carolina horsenettle

Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense, Solanaceae) photographed 10/14/2012 at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee, Ohio.

I came across this Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense, Solanaceae) a few weeks ago at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio. This native and widespread nightshade is considered weedy, but this was the first time I had seen one. It’s most often found on disturbed sites, and the frequently-inundated and rocky banks of the Maumee River fit that description.

Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense, Solanaceae) photographed 10/14/2012 at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee, Ohio.

In early autumn this plant bore a large number of small tomato-like fruit. Tomatoes are also in the nightshade family, but unlike tomatoes Carolina horsenettle is poisonous.

Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense, Solanaceae) photographed 10/14/2012 at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee, Ohio.

This plant features dense, hard spines along the stems and leaf midveins that make it look (and probably feel) rather formidable.  Between the spines and its poisonous nature, another common name seems more appropriate:  Devil’s tomato.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Random Plant and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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