Solanum Species, Bull Nettle, Carolina Horsenettle, Devil's Tomato, Horse Nettle, Sand Briar

Solanum carolinense

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



Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade




Foliage Color:



18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

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:


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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Rolla, 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

Guysville, 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:


On May 2, 2017, cwatkin from Rolla, MO wrote:

This is a toxic noxious weed if you ask me. I have livestock and have declared war on this plant in my pastures. It led to the death of one of my goats as well as multiple guinea fowl. This is one of the most toxic plants in N. America. DO NOT PLANT IT! Pick the cherry tomato fruit and burn them if you find it on your property.


On Jul 4, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

According to the USDA, 7 states list this as a noxious weed. According to BONAP, it's considered a noxious weed in 32 states, and populations are present and not native in 8 western states.

It spreads underground as well as by seed and has very deep roots reaching 8' beneath the surface.

Pulling it persistently (watch out for the spines) will help weaken it but will not eradicate it. Acetic acid will kill the top growth but does nothing about the root.

It is resistant to many herbicides. It can be killed with 6% glyphosate applied during flowering (July or later here in Boston Z6a), but it will require monitoring and re-treatment through two or more successive seasons. One application is not enough to eradicate it.


On Feb 1, 2012, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) 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!


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


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

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


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.)


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.


On Feb 14, 2006, sugarweed from Taylor Creek, 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.


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.


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

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

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

horsenettle Noxious weed
Carolina horsenettle Prohibited noxious weed
horsenettle Noxious weed
Carolina horsenettle B list (noxious weeds)
horsenettle Noxious weed
horse nettle Primary noxious weed
Carolina horsenettle Noxious weed


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