On my last trip to the local prairie, I found quite a bit of Horse Nettle (Solanum carolinense) growing. Here are a couple of macro images I captured:
And a focus-stacked macro image, made by combining 8 individual images:
This “obnoxious weed” is quite colorful as it blooms around the prairie. It seems you either love or hate this plant. Actually, this is a poisonous plant, with yellow prickles on stems and midribs of the leaves. It’s fruit, a smooth yellow berry, looks similar to a miniature tomato and persists through the winter. All parts of the plant are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant’s natural defenses. While ingesting any part of the plant can cause fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, ingesting the fruit can cause abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death. While researching this plant, I found it strange that some mammals, especially Ring-necked pheasant, Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, and Striped skunk like to eat the yellow fruits. But most mammals avoid eating the stems and leaves due to both the spines and toxicity of the plant.
Photographic Equipment Used:
- Canon 7D body
- Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens + Canon 1.4x TC
- Gitzo #1258-LVL carbon fiber tripod
- ISO 250
- Aperture f/5
- Shutter 1/320 sec.