Cnidoscolus stimulosus Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Unrelated to true nettles, this ankle-high plant with the pretty white flower is covered with stiff stinging hairs. If you brush it or touch either the flowers or leaves, the tips of the hair break off in your skin and you will be left with an intense stinging and itching sensation. After the burning and itching wears off, the encounter will often leave you with a rash, or a series of red bumps. People who are allergic have been known to suffer an even more severe reaction.
Bull nettles grow in dry sandy places such as roadsides, beaches, and disturbed areas. If you see small, pretty white flowers in otherwise inhospitable looking sandy areas, be careful about touching them, they are more than likely bull nettles.
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