Monday, June 13, 2011

Tread Softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus). Don’t Touch!

In early May, we were driving along Dry Branch Road in the Ogeechee Wildlife Management Area in Hancock County, Georgia, when we noticed some small plants with white flowers. We hadn’t seen these before so we investigated.

These plants were little more than 12 inches high here.

They have pretty white flowers that...

Bloom on a cyme.

An individual bloom up close, from the front and…

From the back.

The leaf. Something about the shape of the leaf didn’t ‘fit’ with the bloom, and…

The hairs on the stem seemed to say ‘don’t touch.’ It would have been tempting to touch it but I didn’t. I used a stick to move the foliage for a better look. It turns out they are stinging hairs.

We returned in late May. The plants were developing seed pods. They were a pretty combination of deep evergreen and apple green. The developing seed pods, also with stinging hairs, from


The side

A couple of weeks later, we saw no sign of the plants.

Cnidoscolus stimulosus
is native to the United States and grows from Virginia to Louisiana and in Kentucky. It grows in sandy soil or dry pastures on the coastal plain and infrequently in the Piedmont.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Cnidoscolus urens var. stimulosus (Finger Rot)

- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Cnidoscolus stimulosus

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Tread Softly, Finger Rot (Cnidoscolus stimulosus)

- Alabama Plants: Cnidoscolus stim
ulosus -Tread Softly
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Cnidoscolus stimulosus (Tread-softly, Spurge-nettle, Bull-nettle, Finger-rot)

Related Post:

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index


Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks for the information. I have never seen this plant. Smart of you to think not to touch the stem.

JSK said...

It was more the 'little voice' and luck. :-)
The flowers reminded me of Stephanotis floribunda so it was very difficult not to touch. The seed pods were so pretty too.
So tempting.