Index- plants in this Family
Solanaceae / Nightshade
Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense)
Carolina Horsenettle is also known as Bullnettle.

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 north.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

Ads on this page help pay for this site but if you see one that seems inappropriate here such as one that is counter to the pro environmental theme please let me know which Ad and I will block it.
Report a Bad Ad

This close relative of so many of our garden vegetables is reported to be responsible for the deaths of children who have eaten the berries. As with most members of the Nightshade family, even the ones with eatable fruits or tubers such as the tomato and potato, the foliage is toxic in sufficient doses. Though considered a 'weed' it has an attractive and interesting flower. A deep root makes it difficult to remove from gardens. There are many close relatives to this species in our area and many more in the tropics.

Lore: Cherokee used it as an insecticide to kill flies by putting crushed leaves in sweet milk.

Medical Uses: Despite it's toxicity this and other closely related Nightshades have been use medicinally. According to Foster & Duke the berries have been use to treat epilepsy and pain as a diuretic, antispasmodic, and aphrodisiac. The leaves have been used as an analgesic, poulticed on injuries or dermatitis or gargled for sore throats. The Cherokees used berries fried in grease as an ointment for mange in dogs and tied roots around baby's neck for teething, perhaps soothing the pain.Warning: All parts of this species are toxic and should not be taken internally without expert guidance. It contains poisonous aldaloids including solanine.

© Daniel Reed   E-mail      Image use policy

Ads on this page help pay for this site but if you see one that seems inappropriate here such as one that is counter to the pro environmental theme please let me know which Ad and I will block it. Report a Bad Ad

More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



Welcome / Glossary / Books / Links / Feedback / Image use policy - Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States, Page updated on 7/29/2001 11:36:56 AM.