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Horse Nettle

Solanum carolinense L.

Horse nettle
Figure 67.—Horse nettle (Solanum carolinense)
Other common names.—Sand brier, bull nettle, radical-weed, tread-softly, apple of Sodom.

Habitat and range.—The horse nettle is found in dry, sandy soil from Ontario to Illinois and Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas.

Description.—This plant is easily recognized in late summer and fall by its round, smooth, orange-yellow berries about one-half to three-fourths of an inch in diameter which are borne in small drooping clusters. It is an herb 1 to 4 feet high with an erect, branched stem and covered with fine hair. The branches, also the petioles and midveins of the leaves, are armed with straight yellow prickles. The leaves are 2 to 6 inches long with rather deep triangular lobes. From May to September the plant produces violet or white flowers about 1 to 1 1/4 inches broad.

Part used.—The ripe berries, carefully dried.


Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update March 19, 1998 by aw