07.23.2015 Horse Nettle

Anything with the name “Nettle” gets my full attention.  Having bumped into more than my share of Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), I am too aware of the result if one is careless around all those tiny irritating and sometime pain causing hairs.  Unlike a true nettle, Horse Nettle (Solanum carolinense) aka Carolina Nightshade is not prized for any medicinal or food qualities despite being a relative of tomatoes and eggplant (and others in the Solanum or nightshade family).  If it gets in the hay fed to horses and cattle they can be very unhappy with internal irritation from swallowing the tiny hairs that line the stems and leaves which you can see in the image. And they are also not a welcome find in most folks’ gardens.

Horse-Nettle-071915-700WebThe flower, however, has a wonderful crinkle to it.  The fruit, which looks like cherry tomatoes, is toxic and may look tempting but should be avoided.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Closeup Photography, Flora, Nature Photography, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to 07.23.2015 Horse Nettle

  1. The USDA map at


    shows that your “Carolina” horse nettle largely blankets the eastern United States and has begun to appear in scattered counties across the west. Austin is home to a close relative, western horse nettle, Solanum dimidiatum,


    which doesn’t have stinging hairs but does bear some small but sharp spines. Most people probably think of the Solanum species as weeds, but we nature photographers find plenty to like in them, including the crinkles you mentioned and the tiny “bananas” at the center of each flower.


    • Carolina Horse Nettle or Nightshade is basically considered native to the Southeastern U.S.(as well as other nations) and has spread to the Northeast…not necessarily to the delight of our flower enthusiasts and definitely not to the farmers. The hairs do not sting in the same way as a Stinging Nettle but are irritating just the same.


  2. The bloom reminds me of crepe paper or a piece of cloth that needs ironing. Nice shot here.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jim in IA says:

    I’ve seen many plants of that species here in farm country.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. shoreacres says:

    I just learned a new word! I was admiring the purple cast to the “thingies” supporting the blooms, and thought I remembered them being called “peduncles.” I went looking, and found this: “a peduncle is a stem supporting an inflorescence, or, after fecundation, an infructescence.” It’s the “infructescence” I’d never heard.

    Like Yvonne, I thought of crepe paper when I first looked at the flowers. They are pretty things, and you’re right that the fruit looks tempting, but the hairs are no fun, as I learned when I grabbed one without taking a good look. Here’s a link from the Texas A&M Research Station at Uvalde.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am familiar with the terms, but they are not exactly on the tip of my tongue. 🙂
      Not so familiar with “salivitation” although easy enough to make the leap.


      • The salivitation that appears in the linked article appears to be a typo (or thinko) for salivation. I searched for the mistaken form and got a few thousand hits (as opposed to the 664,000 hits for the correct spelling). I also got a link to an article asking “Why do I salivitate around my girlfriend..?”

        Maybe someone who salivitates produces more liquid than someone who salivates.

        Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres says:

        I couldn’t figure out what you two were talking about — I read it as “salivation” and went right on. Apparently my mind can auto-correct from time to time, as well as producing multitudes of typos and thinkos.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrew says:

    The real question is ‘do they support interesting photogenic insects?’ – otherwise they are not welcome in my garden 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. BuntyMcC says:

    Classed as an invasive where I live (PEI) but beautiful photographic subject!

    Liked by 1 person

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