Vir­ginia Ground Cherry


(Physalis vir­gini­ana)

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...

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