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:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Solanaceae
DistributionThroughout the state, 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 abundant 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.
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 feet 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 inches long and 2.5 inches 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 inches 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-inch 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
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFACU link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieSame data. MoorePhoto_natural
B.A. SorriePiedmont, highly disturbed roadside, Jason Road at Wolf Creek, 19 Oct 2018. MoorePhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type