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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - September 02, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Curing plant rash
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I went walking in the woods a few weeks ago, and my leg swiped some kind of cactus or something. It scratched me up and I had to remove little white spines with tweezers. I developed an intensely itchy rash that three weeks later is just as bad as when it first happened. It is not poison ivy or anything.. I have no idea what it is and it is not getting any better. I tried using Tea Tree oil and Shea oil.. it helps a little but has not cured the problem. I don't want to take any pharmaceutical drugs. Do you know how I can resolve this naturally?

ANSWER:

We don't think we can answer your question since giving medical advice is not really in our province, but it seems that after three weeks you might want to consult with a medical doctor.  However, we may be able to help you identify the cause.  If the offending plant was a cactus, it was likely Cylindropuntia leptocaulis (Christmas cactus), also known as Pencil cactus or Tasajillo.  Other possible offenders include Urtica chamaedryoides (heartleaf nettle), Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle), and Tragia spp, (Noseburn). A less likely candidate (because it's not native to that area but occurs not too far away) is Cevallia sinuata (stinging serpent),  Finally, any number of insects with stining hairs, including saddleback caterpillars and stinging asps may have assaulted you.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bullnettle
Cnidoscolus texanus

Branched noseburn
Tragia ramosa

Stinging serpent
Cevallia sinuata

Tasajillo
Cylindropuntia leptocaulis

Betonyleaf noseburn
Tragia betonicifolia

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