Virginia Ground Cherry
vs. Horse Nettles (Solanum carolinense)
The Virginia Ground Cherry is edible when ripe, resembling a small tomato. However, more often than not, any “wild tomatoes” stumbled upon in the wild should be regarded with suspicion due to their similarity to Horse Nettles.
Though they look quite similar to cherry tomatoes, all parts of the horse nettle are poisonous and can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and death.
Tell Them Apart: Horse Nettle has large spiky prickles on its stems, while the Ground Cherry only has thick, stiff hairs. Additionally, the fruits of the Ground Cherry are enclosed in a papery husk while those of the Horse Nettle are bare.
Virginia Ground Cherry Range: Central and Eastern United States, Eastern half of Canada Photo by Ted Bodner, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database Photo by Jennifer Anderson, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database Photo by Katy Chayka Horse...