If you’ve ever encountered Bullnettles, I imagine you remember the experience. I know I do! I was taught from a fairly young age to avoid this plant — kinda like I was taught to avoid Poison Ivy. But being taught to watch for and avoid something doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter it.
I grew up in the country in southern Oklahoma. My brother and I loved to roam and explore our family’s 5 acres as well as our neighbors’ properties. He always warned me to watch out for Bullnettles— he had gotten into them a bit one time and didn’t want me to do the same. We were always very careful to wear jeans and tennis shoes or boots when we went exploring, but one day….. My brother did something to aggravate me then took out running across the field. I, of course, took off after him. I was pretty close to catching him (he wasn’t trying very hard, okay?) when I saw him suddenly jump over something. He tried to warn me, but I was already on it by then and barely had time to kinda jump trying to avoid the Bullnettle bush in front of me. Since we hadn’t been planning to go exploring, I was wearing shorts instead of jeans (I really think those jeans might have saved me) and one knee and shin caught the top of the bush.
I remember my brother trying to help me remove some of the stickers. I believe he scraped the blade of his pocket knife across some areas to remove stickers — as one might do to remove a bee’s stinger. And I also remember the stinging and itching sensations and the welts. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what my mom doctored my leg with. I wish I could remember because I think it helped and I wish I could share it with y’all… but I can’t. Sorry. One recommended treatment for Bullnettle — stings? — is to get some tobacco, spit on it to make a paste, and apply to the area. This might be what my mom put on my leg… I know I’ve used it on wasp stings at her recommendation (and it does help, by the way).
Anyway, ever since that Bullnettle experience, I have been extra careful— extra watchful— to make sure I don’t have to repeat that experience. Bullnettles aren’t quite as bad as Poison Ivy and they are more easily identified so I’m not quite as paranoid about it 😉 but I still go out of my way to avoid it. I suggest you do the same if you’re in an area where Bullnettles grow— see image below which I found HERE.
*All photos in this post, unless otherwise noted, were taken by and belong to me.*