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Carolina Horsenettle

Solanum carolinense


This perennial forb/herb is native to the United States. The flowers and yellow tomato-like fruits are attractive, but the stems and leaves are well armed with prickles and the plant is very difficult to pull up.


It is found in disturbed areas from farm fields to lawns. This one was photographed growing in an open area on a road adjacent to a beaver pond at Silver Bluff Audubon Center.


It is not a true nettle, but a member of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family. Other common names include radical weed, sand brier or briar, bull nettle, tread-softly, apple of Sodom, devil's tomato and wild tomato. All parts of the plant are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant's natural defenses. While ingesting any part of the plant can cause fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, ingesting the fruit can cause abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death.

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Spotted by

South Carolina, USA

Spotted on Dec 13, 2014
Submitted on Dec 25, 2014

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