Western horse nettle, Treadsalve

Solanum dimidiatum Raf.

Solanaceae (Nightshade family)


Western horse nettle is a weedy perennial in the Nightshade family. It is also called treadsalve. Although most specimens of this species are less than 2 feet tall, some grow to 3 feet.

The leaves, petioles (leaf stems) and branched stems of western horsenettle carry sharp spines. Western horse nettle leaves are oval, have five to seven lobes and reach up to 6 inches long.

The flowers are bluish purple to violet (rarely white) and grow in clusters at the ends of the stems. They give rise to spherical fruits that are  inch to 1› inches in diameter and yellow at maturity.

The fruit of the plant is poisonous to livestock, and the forage value is poor for grazing wildlife.


These plants are widely distributed on loamy prairies of Texas except in the far western, Panhandle and extreme eastern parts of the state.