Common Name
Horse nettle, Carolina horse nettle, bull nettle
Botanic Name
Solanum carolinense L.
Plant Family
Solanaceae (potato family)
Perennial weed of disturbed soils and unused areas along roads and field edges especially of the southern States.
Animals Affected
Horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits
Toxic Principle
Tropane alkaloids, especially solanine, which has similar effects as atropine on the autonomic nervous system. Also directly irritating to the oral and gastric mucosa. Green plant and unripe fruits most toxic. Toxicity is reduced by drying.
An erect 1-2 feet high, branching plant with yellow spines on leaves and stems. Leaves are simple, alternate, oblong, and irregularly lobed. The flowers are pale violet to white in color, clustered near the top of the plant. The 5 petals tend to be united. The fruits are berries 1-1.5 cm in diameter, yellow when ripe.
Salivation, colic, intestinal stasis, diarrhea.
Muscle tremors, weakness.
Symptomatic therapy is indicated including fluid therapy, activated charcoal via stomach tube. Physostigmine may be used cautiously in severely poisoned animals.
Cardiovascular system
Rapid heart rate, weak pulse. Hemolysis and anemia may be present in sever cases.
Respiratory System
Labored breathing, nasal discharge,
Nervous System
Depression, drowsiness, incoordination, paralysis of rear legs, coma and death.
Renal System
Kidney failure has been reported
Based upon clinical signs and evidence of the plant being consumed.
Special Notes
Destruction of the plants before fruits are produced will prevent horsenettle spreading.
Carolina horse nettle flowers and fruits.