Bull nettle from Virginia in SC

Seen on Johns Island growing at edge of woods in dappled shade. Creek with marsh nearby. There were 3 plants where I was taking pictures- in a space about 6′ x 12′, so not growing very close together. Other plants scattered about in the same area also in dappled shade.

Plants are about 1.5- 2′ high, and maybe 3- 3.5′ wide. Flowers a bit larger than a quarter- I didn’t think to check if they were fragrant.

Photo taken on 5/17/14 about 7:30pm, as sun was setting, so white of flowers looks a bit glare-y.

I thought it might be Bloodroot, but the leaves and flowers don’t look quite like photos I found online.


Hi Virginia,

this is called Bull nettle, Cnidoscolus stimulosus [the ‘C’ is silent].  The plant has sharp hairs on it that can sting, much like a bee or other nettles.  It is a native perennial, and not uncommon in mostly sandy soils in the warmer states.  It is interesting, but, as said, must be handled with care!

There is more about this plant here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnidoscolus_stimulosus



Dr. Steven R. Hill, Botanist  SCNPS


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