September 6, 2020
#BenInNature is on vacation! While he's out, we're going to look back at the first daily nature updates from way back in March! The following post was originally published March 18, 2020.
Administrator of Science Ben Williams here, checking in from the woods with another nature picture! You've probably seen these before, and if you're like me, you referred to them as "those weird little yellow tomato-looking things." As it turns out, that's not too far from the truth! This is Solanum carolinense, better known as the Carolina horsenettle. However, it is not a true nettle (nor is it a horse). It's a member of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant among many, many others. Don't eat the fruit of a Carolina horsenettle, though; the fruits contain toxic alkaloids that are not safe for human consumption. Skunks, wild turkeys, bobwhites and pheasants love to eat the fruit, however, so if you ever have a skunk over for dinner, you'll know what to serve it. #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.