Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - March 20, 2016

From: Pearl, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Identity of stinging weed in Pearl, Mississippi
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Pearl, MS. Yesterday I pulled a weed that right away started stinging my hand and in a few hours turned into stinging numbness. The weed has dark green heart shaped leaves with purple veins the largest about the size of a quarter. I can see these little hair like things on the stem. Thank you so much.

ANSWER:

There are several possibilities for stinging plants in Mississippi, but from your description it sounds as if the plant you encountered was Urtica chamaedryoides (Heartleaf nettle).  The USDA Plants Database distribution map shows it occurring in Mississippi.  Here is more information about Urtica chamaedryoides from University of Florida IFAS Extension and here are photos from the University of Texas School of Biological Sciences.

Other possibilities for stinging plants that occur in Mississippi are:

Urtica dioica (Stinging nettle)

Another possibility is Tragia cordata (Heartleaf noseburn)  Here are more photos from Discover Life

There are other species of Tragia that are found in Mississippi, but they don't generally fit your description:

Tragia smallii (Small's noseburn)  Here is a herbarium specimen from Calhoun County, Florida.

Tragia urens (wavyleaf noseburn)  Here is a photo from Discover Life.

Tragia urticifolia (Nettleleaf noseburn )  Here are photos and more information from Carolina Nature.

 

From the Image Gallery


Heart-leaf stinging nettle
Urtica chamaedryoides

Heart-leaf stinging nettle
Urtica chamaedryoides

Heart-leaf stinging nettle
Urtica chamaedryoides

Stinging nettle
Urtica dioica

Stinging nettle
Urtica dioica

Heartleaf noseburn
Tragia cordata

Heartleaf noseburn
Tragia cordata

More Problem Plants Questions

Eliminating bluebonnets from lawn
December 05, 2009 - I need to know the best way to eliminate bluebonnets which are growing in my yard. My HOA is pursuing legal action against me to prevent me growing the plants. I can't afford to "resod" my yard. Ca...
view the full question and answer

Landscape Fabric for Oak Suckers in Austin
February 11, 2015 - Can landscape fabric (covered w/decorative bark mulch) be safely used to control Escarpment oak sprouts? 70-year-old knees are tired of getting down to remove. Oaks are in Circle C area of Austin
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
June 07, 2014 - Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.
view the full question and answer

Defense against poison ivy from The Woodlands TX
March 24, 2014 - Hi and thank you in advance for your help. My husband is allergic to Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac, or something in our yard. We need someone who is very knowledgeable to come and identify any poisonous pla...
view the full question and answer

Controlling Devil's Bit in Collin County, TX
June 05, 2015 - I live in Collin County and our pasture has a growing section of Devils Bit taking over everything. I've been using 2,4-D on it with some success. What is the best method of control for this ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.