Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A MYSTERY PLANT THAT WAS GROWING WILD



When I was mowing the other day, I apparently snagged this somewhere along my journey.  I didn't see it until I got off and began to clean the mower. It was stuck in the brush guard on the front.  I was immediately intrigued as I pulled it off and looked at it.



It's got these small, green (perhaps unripe) fruits that are about the size of large marbles.  They are clustered in groups, but grow individually on stems. They were not squishy at all and were very hard, again possibly because they weren't ripe yet.

They have these dark green stripes that remind me of heirloom tomatoes. I cut one open and it has seeds inside that are similar to tomatoes and/or peppers.  I wish I knew where I got them so I could go back and see if there were more nearby.  If it's something cool, I might try to save some of the seeds.
Anyone have a clue?


UPDATE:  Thanks to all of you who commented.  After much research and some further asking of 2nd Family that lives out there giving us more details about its life cycle, this is indeed CAROLINA HORSENETTLE.  It is a very dangerous plant that is NOT edible.  Darn.  I was excited when I first saw it, but because it is in the nightshade family it only bears a striking resemblance to tomatoes but is not remotely edible.  If I do run across them, I'll have to carefully pull them up. 

10 comments:

Macatawa said...

They kind of look like wild tomatillos - here

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=wild+tomato&view=detail&id=917EF1135D9BA1B453586E970F8E48D0D6C15974

Marcia said...

Tomatillos are what came to mind for me too. I've never grown them but my daughter has and I think it was the stripes that triggered the memory.

Jenny said...

looks like a wild tomato to me.

GrafixMuse said...

Be careful. It looks like carolina horsenettle which has spines on the stems and foliage and is toxic.

1st Man said...

I thought of that but there were no papery husks on the outside. I'd love for it to have been wild tomatoes of some sort, I love that idea, ha.

1st Man said...

The stripes definitely remind me of heirloom type 'maters. But I'm leaning toward something poisonous.

1st Man said...

Funny you should say that, I was using the same term, I googled it and found that wild tomato is one of the generic names for what GrafixMuse (below) said it was. I'm still doing some googling based on what you all have suggested. I need to see pictures to compare to what I saw/touched.

1st Man said...

OMG!! Thanks for the heads up. I googled an image and found something that looks the same. Let me do some more research, plus I'm waiting for 2nd Family to respond since I figure they've been out there for years, they'll probably know as well. Or if not, can give me a better description.

Angela said...

It's most likely Carolina horsenettle. I live in NM and we have it here. It can be an invasive noxious weed, but I've given up pulling the damn things out of the ground.

Ours over here have very pretty purple flowers when in bloom. The birds do eat some of the ripened ones. I've heard that sheep and goats can tolerate it, but not horses and cattle.

It is also called wild tomato since its from the nightshade family.

1st Man said...

We have a consensus. It is carolina horsenettle. I guess that's why it looks like it might have been a tomato. Thank you for the info!!