Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Carolina Horsenettle

These are autumn pictures mostly featuring the fruit that grows on the horsenettle plant. Although they look a lot like tomatoes, they are poisonous. When I was a kid, my parents referred to this plant as poison oak. Since then I have heard others in our area refer to it that way, although it is not at all related to poison oak (a west coast relative of poison ivy.) I think it might be because the leaves are similar to oak leaves and the prickers of the plant can give you a a rash. Also true poison oak doesn't grow in our area.

This plant is not a true nettle either. It is a relative of the tomato, and its scientific name is Solanum carolinense. All parts of the plant are poisonous to people and livestock if ingested. It is native to our area and most of the eastern U.S. but has spread to most of North America.

1. poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) -native
2. red maple (Acer rubrum) -native
3. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) -native
4. staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) -native
5. common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) -not native
6. New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) -native
7. Canada goldenrod (Solidago altissima) -native
8. catsear (Hypochaeris radicata) -not native
9. butter-and-eggs (Linaria vulgaris) -not native
10. meadow hawkweed (Pilosella caespitosa) -not native
11. spiny sowthistle (Sonchus asper) -not native
12. Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) -native

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