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Itching and Swelling

Monique Reed monique at mail.bio.tamu.edu
Mon Oct 16 09:57:45 EST 2000

I think there are two or three possible culprits:

1.  Nettle--Urtica chamaedryoides is very common.  One can also find
the European nettle, U. urens.

2.  Noseburn--Tragia. 

Both genera have white stinging hairs.  The hairs are made of silica
(essentially, glass). When they go into your skin, they break off and
release formic acid, the same chemical as in ant bites.  Anti-itch
cream may be useful, as may a paste of baking soda and water.  

3. Bull nettle--Cnidoscolus texanus.  This has rather star-shaped
leaves and nasty stinging hairs that can go right through clothing. 
I'm not sure what the active ingredient in the sting is.

M. Reed

Alex wrote:
> Hi,
> Yesterday I went on a hiking trip and as I was resting on a log I
> accidently brushed my hand up against some kind of weed looking plant.
> It was about 1 foot long and it had tiny white hairs coming out of it's
> stem.  Well the hairs poked into the skin on my hand and after about a
> minute later I  began getting little bumps where they had poked me.
> After about 10 - 15 mins my hand starting swelling up and was itching.
> Today, about 21 hours later my hand is still fairly swollen and the
> itching is persisting but the swelling has gone down quite a bit.  I
> was wondering if anyone could help me indentify what type of plant this
> could have been.  By the way, I was hiking in central Texas.  Thanks.
> Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
> Before you buy.

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