Plantidote of the Day 2011-08-19
Devil's tomato or Carolina horsenettle
A member of the nightshade family, along with along with eggplant and potatoes, devil's tomato is native to the southeastern U.S. It grows all over the country, thriving on neglect. In some areas, it's considered a weed, in others, it's on the invasive list -- and yet somehow managed to escape Kathryn's notice ;-)
The "tomatoes" don't seem particularly satanic, but they can be lethal if eaten. Those bright yellow thorns don't look like much fun, either. But in spite of all the negatives, devil's tomato has very practical applications. Herbalists use parts of the plant to make concoctions that relieve spasms and help with relaxation. And the plant does shelter beneficial beetles, so it can be an asset in the garden.
Readers, please send twig (firstname.lastname@example.org) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.
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