Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Carolina Horsenettle - Solanum carolinense   L.
Members of Solanaceae:
Members of Solanum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Solanaceae
AuthorL.
DistributionThroughout the state, certainly occurs in all counties.

This is a widespread Eastern species, native almost certainly as far north as NC and VA, but is adventive in the northern portions to an undetermined extent. Essentially from New England to NE and south to the Gulf Coast.
AbundanceCommon to often very common throughout.
HabitatThis is a weedy native, found mostly in ruderal habitats. It grows in fields, roadsides, gardens, vacant lots, and many other types of disturbed habitats; in fact, it does not really grow in natural habitats.
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits from August to September.
IdentificationThis is a very familiar weed, known to everyone, even to farmers probably trying to rid the plants from their property. It is erect and grows to about 2' tall, with a spiny stem that has a few branches. The alternate leaves are generally ovate to elliptic in general shape but have triangular lobes, often about 2-3 on each side of the leaf; the blade averages about 4" long and 2.5" wide. The flowers are on terminal racemes, with only a few flowers per cluster. Each has 5 triangular petals, and a spread of about 1.3" across; petals are white to slightly lavender-tinged. The long bright yellow anthers give the flower a yellow-and-white appearance. The fruit is quite distinctive -- a large orange-yellow berry about 2/3" across. The other two native species in the genus have much smaller flowers.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley lists a variety, the nominate one -- var. carolinense -- as the one found in NC.

Other Common Name(s)Ball-nettle
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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