Solanum carolinense horse-nettle Solanaceae SOCA; Bx, cn, pb, sf, vc; NY, hb; Q, a, j; K, m, p; R, ca, cg, fk, t, ty, wp;


Solanum©2014 Sierra Club. All Rights Reserved. ( Accessed 4/2014).

Solanum carolinense is a perennial herb, 0.3-1.2 m tall, colonial by rhizomes, stems ersect, coarse, branching, spiny, hairy. 

Leaves alternate, elliptic-oblong, hairy 4-14 cm long, 2-6 cm wide with few large teeth/lobes, yellowish-hairy on both sides, usually spiny along major veins, stalk to 2 cm long (Bassett and Munro 1986). 

Flowers white, 2-3 cm wide 5-lobed, anthers 5, yellow, in dense, central cluster around stigma; inflorescence of small, 1-sided clusters; blooms May-Oct. 


Solanum ( Accessed 4/2014).

Fruit fleshy, yellow, to 1.5 cm wide, tomato-like, old calyx persistant. fruit persistent on old stems through much of winter. Seed load 10%; water 84%, Pulp nutrients: lipid 2%, protein 10%, CHO 44% of dry pulp (White 1989). Eaten by game birds, songbirds and mammals (Martin et al. 1951). 

Wetland status: UPL. 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Open, upland areas with low, weedy vegetation. Agricultural weed. 

Notes: Ripe fruit retains high levels of toxic glycoalkaloids, 1-3% dry pulp, by weight, which deter many potential fruit eating seed dispersers but protect fruit from seed predators and fungi (Cipollini and Levey 1997a). Toxicity increases in dried plants and fruit (Kingsbury1964). Leaves and stems also very toxic due to solanine and other glycoalkaloids. Fungal species found on ripe fruits include: Nigrospora sphaericaGeotrichum candidum (Deuteromycotina, Hyphomycetes) a fruit rot, and Fusarium solani (Deuteromycotina, Hyphomycetes), a pathogen causing wilts and rots of many plants (Agrios 1988; Cipollini and Levey 1997b).