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Carolina horsenettle


Carolina Horsenettle
Solanum carolinense L. (Potato family, Solanaceae)


Erect to sprawling perennial herb to subshrub with deep creeping roots, and yellowish prickles on the stems, to 39 inches tall.

Leaves: Stems usually prickly, openly branched; leaves are alternate, simple, dull green, ovate to lanceolate, 2 to 6 inches long, usually with wavy to 5 to 7 coarse-lobed margins; foliage is covered with minute star-shaped hairs, typically yellowish to straw-colored.

Flowers: Flowers May to September; flower clusters are modified cymes that are raceme-like, with 5 to 20 pale violet or white star-shaped, 5-lobed flowers, 3/4 to 1-1/8 inches in diameter.

Fruit: Fruit is a yellow 5/16 to 3/4 inch diameter berry with 40 to 170 seeds; seeds are yellowish to orange-brown; small 1/16 to 1/8 inch in diameter; smooth and glossy.


Cultivated and disturbed or degraded sites in grassland and woodland communities, and roadsides; grows best on sandy, well- drained soils within elevations that generally range from 4,000 to 5,000 feet.


Reproduces by seed and vegetatively from creeping roots and root fragments; one plant can produce up to 5,000 seeds; most seed is dormant at maturity and requires a cool, moist period to germinate spring through summer; roots generate new shoots in spring.


Native to the central and eastern United States and northern Mexico; once established, Carolina horsenettle colonies are difficult to control or eliminate. Arizona prohibited noxious weed.

Collage of images of Carolina horsenettle



Forest Service Shield
Invasive plants and weeds of the national forests and grasslands in the southwestern region
Carolina horsenettle flowers and foliage Carolina horsenettle flowers Carolina horsenettle fruit and stem Carolina horsenettle plant