Horsenettle
Solanum carolinense

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: carolinense (kair-oh-lin-EN-see) (Info)

Category:

Perennials

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Danger:

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Violet/Lavender

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Foliage:

Herbaceous

Chartreuse/Yellow

Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured

Leathery-Textured

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cullman, Alabama

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Morrilton, Arkansas

Storrs Mansfield, Connecticut

Pensacola, Florida

Cornelia, Georgia

Hinesville, Georgia

Roswell, Georgia

Anna, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Melbourne, Kentucky

Frederick, Maryland

Oakland, Maryland

Rockville, Maryland

Detroit, Michigan

Water Valley, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Dittmer, Missouri

Deposit, New York

Garner, North Carolina

Havelock, North Carolina

Henderson, North Carolina

Louisburg, North Carolina

Norlina, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Ridgeway, North Carolina

Vaughan, North Carolina

Wilsons Mills, North Carolina

Youngsville, North Carolina

Glouster, Ohio

Arlington, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Gary, Texas

Greenwood, Texas

Red Rock, Texas

Royse City, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Liberty, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

1
positive
2
neutrals
6
negatives
RatingContent
Negative

On Feb 1, 2012, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

All plant parts are poisonous. This plant is also commonly known as "Devil's tomato", "Apple of Sodom", "porcupine tomato" and wild tomato, among others. But repeat, no edible!

Negative

On Aug 5, 2011, mahniah from STORRS MANSFIELD, CT wrote:

I agree with justinbhay - this is a terrible weed and difficult to eradicate. I read that white vinegar will kill it, so I've been spraying. So far it's turning the leaves brown, but it hasn't been long enough to know if it really kills it down to that awful root system. I'll let you know.

Connecticut, zone 5

Negative

On Jul 7, 2010, justinbhay from Jasper, AL wrote:

this is the most awfull WEED i have ever seen!!!!

Negative

On Sep 1, 2008, pmgflowers from Decatur, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

No idea how this plant got into my yard, but I now patrol regularly, trying to eradicate it. My dog (Lab-Chow mix) LOVES it, and it makes her violently sick (volcanic diarrhea) and would kill her if she could get enough of it at one time. (It's toxic to livestock, although cows and horses generally have sense enough not to eat it green because of the prickles--it's a hazard to them in dried silage.)

Positive

On Jul 5, 2008, horsenettle from Havelock, NC wrote:

I found beauty in this humble weed. In the current state of drought in North Carolina, I planted it in a large pot and let the flowers bloom. It requires little care and is tolerant of many conditions. Never allow children to eat the fruit and do not plant it in your lawn. Also, you may want to gather up the seeds before they break open.

Negative

On Feb 14, 2006, sugarweed from Okeechobee, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This was also growing in the Panhandle of Texas in the ditches of Hale County around Plainview Texas.
It was a very mean and persistant plant as it was too prickly to pull.

Neutral

On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Horse Nettle is widely regarded as a weed, with some justication, but it is also one of the native wildflowers of the prairie. The fruits are benefical to wildlife. Because of the intense competition among plants and their root systems, this plant is less aggressive in prairie habitats than in disturbed sites around developed areas.

Negative

On Nov 13, 2004, cherishlife from Pocola, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Several states have this plant listed as a noxious weed in the plant.usda.gov site.

This is one weed I absolutely HATE. Sharp thorns make this one hard to remove.

Alaska:
horsenettle Noxious weed
Arizona:
Carolina horsenettle Prohibited noxious weed
Arkansas:
horsenettle Noxious weed
California:
Carolina horsenettle B list (noxious weeds)
Hawaii:
horsenettle Noxious weed
Iowa:
horse nettle Primary noxious weed
Nevada:
Carolina horsenettle Noxious weed

Neutral

On Jul 11, 2004, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Carolina horsenettle
Group: Dicot
Family: Solanaceae
Growth Habit: Subshrub, Shrub, Forb/herb
Duration: Perennial
U.S. Nativity: Native

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 80cm in height (31inches). The stem is covered with spines.

Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf is irregularly lobed or coarsely toothed.

Flowers: The flowers have 5 Regular Parts. They are white sometimes light purple. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into early fall.

Fruit: A toxic berry. Green at first turning yellow very like a small tomato.

Habitat: Fields, fencerows and gardens.

Range: Most of eastern North America except extreme nor... read more