Horse Nettle,  Solanum carolinense
Solanaceae or Nightshade Family

Medium plant, to 4 feet tall, with prickly stems.  Leaves roughly narrow triangular, with large teeth or lobes.  Upper leaves may be simpler.  Flowers in a terminal cluster, with 5 white to pale lavender petals and a yellow column of stamens protruding.  Fruits are yellow berries, resembling miniature yellow tomatoes. Blooms in summer.

Coarse and weedy, but native. Favors open fields and waste places. Occasional in the South Meadow.

The attractive flowers and miniature tomato fruits are distinctive and make this plant easy to identify.  Black nightshade (S. nigrum) has similar but smaller flowers, the leaves are toothless or nearly so and the berries are black. Bittersweet nightshade (S. dulcamara) is a vine with purple flowers, 3-parted leaves, and red berries..




 Early fruits


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