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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Monday - November 01, 2010

From: Thorndale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of two Solanum species in Thorndale, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi. NE of Austin in the Taylor/Rockdale area with sandy loam I have two kinds of nightshade. One has the deep rhizomes and stickers and is relatively small and weedy. The other, very similar in appearance with the lobed leaves, purple flowers and tomato like fruit, has very shallow roots and is easy to pull up. This plant grows much taller with broader, more attractive leaves. What is it? I can send a photo if need be.


The prickly nightshade with the deep roots sounds like Solanum carolinense (Carolina horse-nettle) and the other one with broader, more deeply lobed, leaves sounds like Solanum dimidiatum (Western horsenettle)

Identifying plants from physical descriptions is very difficult at best.  If our best guess is incorrect, you may send images of your nightshades to id@smartyplants.org and we'll take another shot at it.

Solanum carolinense

Solanum carolinense

Solanum dimidiatum

Solanum dimidiatum




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