12 Fascinating Plants With Stinging Hairs You Should Avoid

Get to know about different plants with stinging hairs in this short yet informative article. It’s a must-read for curious gardeners!

Did you know there are some plants with stinging hairs that cause a painful sensation when touched? This unique defense mechanism protects them from various plant-eaters. Browse this post to learn more about these peculiar specimens.

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Plants With Stinging Hairs

1. Small Nettle

Plants With Stinging Hairs 1

Botanical Name – Urtica urens

Small nettle is a herbaceous flowering plant with small greenish flowers and stiff, stinging hairs on leaves. Its hairs cause reddening, itching, swelling, and a burning sensation on contact.

2. Canadian Wood Nettle

Plants With Stinging Hairs 2

Botanical Name – Laportea canadensis

Endemic to Central and East Canada to Mexico, the erect perennial herb can reach up to 2 to 4 feet in height. It bears white-hued stinging hairs on younger leaves and stems.

3. Cowhage

Plants With Stinging Hairs 3

Botanical Name – Mucuna pruriens

Cowhage is a climbing legume that boasts alternate, lance-shaped foliage and dark brown seed pods with stinging hairs. Its hair discharges dermatitis-causing Dimethyltryptamine and poisonous alkaloids when touched.

4. Stinging Nettle

Plants With Stinging Hairs 4
shutterstock/Martins Vanags

Botanical Name – Urtica dioica

This North American perennial herb produces lanceolate to ovate-shaped foliage and tiny inconspicuous flowers on long droopy stems. Stinging nettle can reach heights up to 1-3 meters.

5. Bull Nettle

Bull Nettle with stinging hairs
shutterstock/Chase D’animulls

Botanical Name – Cnidoscolus stimulosus

Bull nettle, also known as the Finger Rot and Tread Softly, is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family. This perennial requires light shade to produce beautiful white blooms and prickly leaves.

6. Spurge Nettle

Cnidoscolus urens

Botanical Name – Cnidoscolus urens

Spurge nettle is recognized for its large, lobed leaves and white flowers. This entire tropical plant is covered with irritation-causing stinging hairs.

7. Indian Stinging Nettle

Indian Stinging Nettle
shutterstock/Anooja Murali

Botanical Name – Tragia involucrata

The Indian stinging nettle is a twining herb that stands out with heart-shaped, serrated foliage and stinging hairs. This plant is common in ethnomedicinal and ethnopharmacological applications.

8. Tree Nettle

Tree Nettle with stinging hairs

Botanical Name – Urtica ferox

Tree nettle produces green, sharply-toothed leaves with white stinging hairs along the midribs and leaf stalks. The stems of this New Zealand native are also covered by short and large hairs.

9. Gympie-Gympie

Gympie-Gympie in pot

Botanical Name – Dendrocnide moroides

Gympie-Gympie or suicide plant is popular for its extremely painful and long-lasting stinging hairs. It’s common in rainforest areas of Malesia and Australia.

10. Himalayan Nettle

Himalayan Nettle

Botanical Name – Girardinia diversifolia

This perennial herb is used as traditional medicine for the treatment of several diseases in Nepal. It’s a shade-tolerant plant that thrives at elevations between 1,200 to 3,000 meters.

11. Cannabis Leaf Nettle

Tragia plukenetii with flower

Botanical Name – Tragia plukenetii

This herb or under-shrub can become 1 m tall with greenish flowers and toothed leaves with bristly hairs. It’s typically found in hedges and in forest outskirts.

12. Japanese NettleJapanese Nettle

Botanical Name – Urtica thunbergiana

A perennial herb native to Japan, China, and Taiwan, Japanese nettle is a common sight in forests and along streams. Although this plant has pain-causing hairs, it’s a popular ingredient in various Taiwan dishes.

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