Tread softly around Cnidoscolus stimulosus

August 17, 2014

Tread Softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus). Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
Tread Softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus). Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Tread Softly (Cnidoscolus stimulosus) is a small herbaceous wildflower we commonly find along our sandy beaches, coastal scrubs, and sandy forest trails. If you happen to step on or brush up against one, you will not soon forget your encounter. Although their tiny white flowers are fragrant, this is one you should avoid close encounter.

Tread softly is also known as stinging nettle, finger-rot, and probably a few other names if you’ve ever stepped on it barefoot. Not actually a nettle, it is a perennial herb of the Euphorbiaceae family and covered in stinging hairs that will produce a painful short-term rash. Symptoms from contact with this plant include pain and stinging sensation and typically last an hour or so. However, rarely, some people may experience a severe reaction, in which case, you should contact a physician immediately.

Enjoy these flowering beauties from afar.