Mar. 24, 2018

horse-nettle, Solanum carolinense

Horse-nettle is not an inviting plant. Until it wants to be. The leaves are spiny, and the whole thing is strongly poisonous. Then it blooms and sets fruit. Bumblebees are welcomed, to buzz around and shake the pollen out of the hollow anthers. All manner of birds and mammals are welcome to eat the berries. But don't try it. Some Solanum fruit, notably tomatoes, are edible for humans. Not this one. Eat them and die! Native to the southeast, it now grows in every state except AK, HI, MT, ND, and NV, in ON and QC, and now in Eurasia and Australia. Lenawee Co MI, 7/16/10.