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Old September 22nd, 2010, 10:43 AM
wildaboutplants wildaboutplants is offline
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Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

I live in North Central Florida, I found a volunteer plant and want to know if it is a gooseberry or some other type of desirable fruit or is it a weed that should go in the compost pile.

Thank you very much in advance.
Christina
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 10:50 AM
woodschmoe woodschmoe is offline
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Re: Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

Not a gooseberry; Looks like a solanum of some sort, which would put it in the category of 'weed'.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 10:52 AM
wildaboutplants wildaboutplants is offline
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Re: Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

Okay, thank you. That makes sense if it's in the nightshade family, we get a LOT of nettle growing here too. I've just never seen anything here before with berries that size and they look like they're not done growing.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 12:50 PM
thanrose thanrose is offline
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Re: Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

That's called horsenettle in Central Florida. It's Solanum carolinense. Usually the leaves are fuzzy with fine hairs on top as well as the spines upper and lower that are visible on some leaves in your pics. Yours look almost glabrous. Could be something else closely related, but it sure looks like horsenettle, and is almost definitely a solanum. Definitely not edible, and not desirable because of the damage the spines can do.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 01:20 PM
wildaboutplants wildaboutplants is offline
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Re: Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

thanrose,
thank you. i will pull it out and put it in the burn pile, don't want to spread it in the compost. I hope it came with the hay that I used in my garden beds and i can keep it in check. we have stinging nettle all over the yard, that is bad enough...
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 07:20 AM
thanrose thanrose is offline
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Re: Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

Burn pile is fine, especially in light of those persistent thorns. If none of your berries are yellow to orange yet, it would theoretically not spread if buried in a working compost pile, though. And yeah, it probably did come in with hay.

There are two stinging nettles, Urtica something or other, and Cnidoscolus stimulosus. You almost certainly have Cnidoscolus. Both are in Florida, but C. stimulosus is ubiquitous throughout Florida on sandy soils.

Both have some utility which almost takes out the sting. Look up Green Deane on youtube or at his site, eattheweeds dot com. I'm sure he will have recipes and foraging tips for both. I rather like to eat both, but Cnidoscolus stimulosus is much harder to collect and process. The root tastes like pasta, just chewy.

The root is easy to dig in loose sand, not so easy with lots of tree roots or with palm's fibrous mats of roots. Do not touch any above ground part with sweaty skin because that makes it much more likely to be a painful encounter.

Last edited by thanrose; September 23rd, 2010 at 12:51 PM. Reason: corrected urtica/urticaria
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 11:41 AM
wildaboutplants wildaboutplants is offline
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Re: Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

Your message had great timing, as i had forgotten to go out and remove it; which i did promptly when I seen your post. As far as the other type of stinging nettle we have, it is extremely painful when lightly touched and it grows during spring/early summer - by July it's gone. I looked up the cridoscolus stimulosus - it didn't look like that one, more like heartleaf nettle. I have considered harvesting it and consuming it, but it's hard to get past the scare of eating something that stings so bad when you touch it :)
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 12:50 PM
thanrose thanrose is offline
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Re: Weed or Gooseberry? Please help ID

Ah, that would be Urtica dioica which would give you urticaria or a skin rash. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle. That is commonly eaten cooked as a spring green. Whatever, you would have to be absolutely confident in your identification and preparation to ever eat something like that. I simply want to make the point that no plant is all bad in every context. Horse nettle included, although I've yet to figure out why.
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