Solanum carolinense L. Solanaceae (Nightshade family)

Life cycle

Spreading to erect, patchforming perennial.

horsenettle plant
Horsenettle plant.


Alternate, egg-shaped, shallowly to deeply lobed, 2 to 5 inches long with sharp, prominent prickles on the leaf veins, midveins and petioles. Star-shaped hairs are present on both leaf surfaces.

horsenettle leaf
Horsenettle leaf.


Spreading to erect, herbaceous stems with multiple branching, up to 3 feet in height. Stems have sharp, prominent prickles and star-shaped hairs.

horsenettle spines
Sharp, prominent prickles of horsenettle.

Flowers and fruit

Flowers are white to pale purple, star-shaped with five petals fused at the base and found in clusters on prickly flowering stalks. Flower centers consist of bright yellow, cone-shaped anthers. Berries are yellow at maturity, globe-shaped, wrinkled and approximately .5 inch across, and contain up to 170 seeds.

horsenettle berries
Horsenettle mature berries.


Seeds and deeply penetrating vertical to horizontal creeping roots.


All plant parts are toxic to animals.

Print a PDF of this page: Horsenettle

Back to identifying field weeds.

The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.