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Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
Richardson, Charmaine

Cnidoscolus texanus

Cnidoscolus texanus (Müll. Arg.) Small

Texas Bullnettle, Bull Nettle, Tread-softly, Spurge Nettle

Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)

Synonym(s): Jatropha texana


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Texas Bull Nettle is usually 1 1/2-3 feet high with several stems from the same taproot system that enables the plant to thrive even in the hottest part of the summer. Leaves are alternate, 2-4 inches long, typically 5-lobed, crinkled in appearance and covered with stinging hairs. If one brushes against the leaves, one will feel the "sting" for 30-45 minutes. If any part of the stem is broken, a milky sap appears, and some people are allergic to this as well as the "sting” of the hairs. The flower consists of 5-7 white, petal-like sepals, united below; there are no petals. There are 10 or more stamens and a 3-lobed pistil. The seeds are clustered in 3 separate compartments held tightly together by the tough, almost round seedpod. It, too, is covered with stinging hairs. When the seeds mature, the outside "fleshy" part shrinks and exposes the durable shell that holds the 3 seed compartments.


From the Image Gallery

61 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: 1 1/2-3 feet high.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AR , KS , LA , OK , TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX


Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cnidoscolus texanus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cnidoscolus texanus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cnidoscolus texanus


Record Modified: 2023-03-30
Research By: TWC Staff

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