En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Saturday - August 08, 2009

From: LaPorte, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Medicinal Plants, Problem Plants
Title: Treating stings from stinging nettles in Indiana
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How can I remove hairlike thorns (as from nettle-type weed)? My hands react within 24 hours with swelling and pain, esp in morning. In past when I have then been able to locate the offending thorn, the symptoms disappear within 24 hours. This time, despite plastic gloves, I felt the sting but am now unable to see any thorns, they are so tiny. Is there anything one could use to soak out microscopic thorns, a balm or salts? Or any other remedy? Had steroids in past but did not go away til I could remove thorn.

ANSWER:

We are gardeners, not doctors, and we would not presume to make any treatment suggestions. Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) is a fascinating plant, edible (after being cooked), used for generations as a herbal medicine for various ailments, and with spines that can inject a chemical cocktail, including histamines, seratonin and formic acid, the same stuff many venomous insects carry.  We found a WikiHow website, How to Treat a Sting from a Stinging Nettle. Remember, these are not our recommendations, just ideas you can try at your own risk.

We do have a couple of recommendations, however. The first is, try to eliminate the plant from your landscape. The second is to use leather gloves. And see a doctor.

Pictures of Urtica dioica (stinging nettle)

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
view the full question and answer

Verbena bonariensis won't bloom in Galveston, TX.
July 03, 2014 - My Verbena bonariensis is thriving, but never blooms. The plants look healthy, are about 6 feet tall and in full sun. The buds turn light purple but never open to flower. My neighbor's vb are ...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating evasive Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet)
July 21, 2013 - I have Oriental Bittersweet growing pervasively in my shrub garden, strangling my shrubs and growing into my beautiful Victorian porch. I can't keep up with it! What can I do?
view the full question and answer

Eliminating and replacing Tradescantia species
July 03, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I need advice. I recently figured out my 10 month old dog is highly allergic to Tradescantia sp, commonly known as the Spiderworts, and "Wandering Jew" which covers about h...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
March 10, 2003 - Clover has taken over and just about covered the Bluebonnets. Is there any way of removing the clover such as with fertilizer or something else?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center