Solanum carolinense (Horse Nettle)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; disturbed soil; agricultural fields, roadsides, waste areas|
|Bloom season:||May - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Clusters of stalked flowers opposite a leaf in the upper plant and at the tips of branching stems. Flowers are about ¾ inch across, star-shaped with 5 triangular petals fused in the lower half, white to violet and green at the base. The petals are mostly spreading but may be curled back. Protruding from the center are 5 stout yellow stamens surrounding a straight, slender, green style.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are oblong to egg-shaped in outline, 2 to 6 inches long, up to 3 inches wide, both surfaces covered in star-shaped hairs, on a short stalk. Leaf edges are often wavy, and toothless but shallowly lobed, the lobes typically angular and resembling large teeth.
Native to the US farther south and east of Minnesota, Horse Nettle is considered adventive here, but with climate change its natural range will naturally spread northward so in a few years it might treated as a native species after all. It was once an agricultural pest and listed as a county-level noxious weed but Round-up Ready crops took care of that.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dzuik taken at a nursery in Sherburne County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?