Wild Arkansas

August 28, 2008

Toxic tomatoes

While wandering around Lowell, I found a few wild tomatoes. I wanted to wait on sampling until after I conducted a little research.

Solanum carolinense is also known as a wild tomato and horse nettle.

There are conflicting reports on this plant, though most say the whole plant is toxic. According to Medicinal Herbs, by Foster and Duke the plant is used by herbalists to treat epilepsy and other ailments.

There are toxic constituents found in all parts of the plant and there have been cases of animal and children dying from ingestion; however, the berries are less toxic than other parts of the plant and when cooked, toxic constituents break down.

Some information exists showing an infusion of the leaf was used to treat worms, as a dermatological aid and the leaves were crushed with sweet milk to kill flies.

The plant is useful for those who know how to use it, but toxic to those who don’t. Never ingest any part of this plant unless you know what you are doing.

For better identification please visit Kirk Jordan’s site, ID Arkansas and take a look at the photos of the plant there.

Some links for further information:

Link Basic info from 2Bnthewild.com

Link Horse nettle in different stages of developement.

Link Short article at Wikipedia

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