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Anyone ever heard of "stinging grass"?


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While out caching yesterday, I had to walk through what appeared to be innocent-looking grass, about knee-high. After a couple of minutes of doing this, I noticed my legs were on fire! It felt like I was being stung by hundreds of little fireants, but there was nothing visible on my legs. The stinging spread to my arms and the side of my face, as I touched it, and it was pretty miserable. I got out of there as soon as possible, taking a shortcut up the hill, rather than back through where I'd came from, and upon investigation, I had all sorts of rashy-looking welts on my legs and arms. The stinging abated somewhat over the course of the day, but I'm still itchy this morning. What in the world was that grass? Someone told me it was "stinging grass" but I didn't find much of anything online about it...any ideas?

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While out caching yesterday, I had to walk through what appeared to be innocent-looking grass, about knee-high. After a couple of minutes of doing this, I noticed my legs were on fire! It felt like I was being stung by hundreds of little fireants, but there was nothing visible on my legs. The stinging spread to my arms and the side of my face, as I touched it, and it was pretty miserable. I got out of there as soon as possible, taking a shortcut up the hill, rather than back through where I'd came from, and upon investigation, I had all sorts of rashy-looking welts on my legs and arms. The stinging abated somewhat over the course of the day, but I'm still itchy this morning. What in the world was that grass? Someone told me it was "stinging grass" but I didn't find much of anything online about it...any ideas?

Stinging nettles have such an effect, but I wouldn't describe them as grass-like.

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An allergic reaction, maybe?

 

Was this in Texas (I'm asking because that's where your profile indicates that you've found caches)? I would think that Texas would be a little too arid for stinging nettle, which usually likes mesic (moist) habitats, but I don't know enough about the flora of that region.

 

My personal experience with Texas vegetation back at Woodstock 4 was that everything bites back- it seemed that every plant had some sort of thorn, sticker, or needle on it :P .

  • Funny 1
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An allergic reaction, maybe?

 

Was this in Texas (I'm asking because that's where your profile indicates that you've found caches)? I would think that Texas would be a little too arid for stinging nettle, which usually likes mesic (moist) habitats, but I don't know enough about the flora of that region.

 

My personal experience with Texas vegetation back at Woodstock 4 was that everything bites back- it seemed that every plant had some sort of thorn, sticker, or needle on it :P .

 

Texas DOES have nettles, particularly central TX around Killean, Waco, Fort Hood area. And it looks nearly the same as the species that grows here in Minnesota.. although we have several species, the base characteristics are all the same. Not grass-like.. but I know that is not the implication.

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I remember when I was a kid in South East Texas there was this plant that we called stinging weed. As I recall it was a low to the ground dandelion looking thing and if you stepped on it barefoot it had a single thorn in it that would hurt like hell and cause swelling and aching for a few hours. I never noticed it growing knee high or even ankle high though. It always seemed to pop up in regularly mowed lawns where you wouldn't be expecting it.

 

Happy Hunting!

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I've never heard of it, but then again I've never been to TX. Stinging nettles have a very similar effect. In fact, stinging nettles inject you with formic acid (the same stuff that ants sting with) and histamine, so your analogy to fire ants sounds quite accurate.

 

I suppose there could be other plants with a similar defense mechanism. The more arid the climate, the more it seems that the plants fight back.

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We have itch weed or burn weed around here, I blundered into it once. It felt like ants running up and down my legs - similar to when your leg falls asleep and then you move it. I kept checking them expecting to find some sort of mark or welt but there wasn't anything there. It took about two days for the sensation to go away. My other half has told me if I get into the weed again, the best thing to do to help the burning is to put mud on it.

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A lot of long leaf grasses can iritate the skin. Just walking through a field, or even patch, of this can leave you with a reminder to wear long pants while out caching in the wild. I have come across this several times, even when I was a kid in Northern Missouri. You get a nice burn, with no visible signs at first. Then you can see welts, or stripes of red where the irritation is taking place. I'm not sure if this is a chemical reaction, or an irritation caused by the serated edges of the grass.

 

An I don't think it's stinging nettles. If you walk into one of those you know it, like NOW! :P

plus, the nettles look pretty frightening anyway, with those sickly purple flowers and ten bazillion thorns...

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I had the same problem this weekend. We were out caching in the woods and I wore shorts. Should have known better and walked thru what looked like normal weeds and man my legs were on fire. Figure out what the plant was after walking thru it about four thousand times that day and began to move around it, but my legs looked like they were mosquito welten for about 36 hours. Never itched, just burned beyond belief.

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Where were you caching, Austin? I wish you had gotten a picture of the grasses.

 

Many years ago, I hiked through a marshy area, not realizing what was in there. Well, being marshy, it was loaded with sedges! It looked like grass.... but it sliced up our legs really good!

 

The ID part to remember is....."Sedges have edges, and rushes are round." Those sedges sure did have edges... it was almost like going through all the green briar there is in central Texas! These were scratches, though, rather than a rash.

 

I still have scratches on my ankles from getting tangled up in green briar Sept. 15 .... ouch! It is just too hot to cache in jeans, so I usually cache in capri length pants... protects most of my legs, and I am cooler. I just have to watch better.

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A lot of long leaf grasses can iritate the skin. Just walking through a field, or even patch, of this can leave you with a reminder to wear long pants while out caching in the wild. I have come across this several times, even when I was a kid in Northern Missouri. You get a nice burn, with no visible signs at first. Then you can see welts, or stripes of red where the irritation is taking place. I'm not sure if this is a chemical reaction, or an irritation caused by the serated edges of the grass.

 

An I don't think it's stinging nettles. If you walk into one of those you know it, like NOW! :P

plus, the nettles look pretty frightening anyway, with those sickly purple flowers and ten bazillion thorns...

Hm. They must be different where you are. Here, they look perfectly normal alongside a trail, for instance. And they don't have thorns. Just a green normal looking plant. It's hard sometimes to pick them out from other green things, even when you know what you're looking for. I had a group of kids and adults once on a trail, looking for caches. I pointed out the nettles to them, and told them to be careful. But they kept walking along, getting dangerously close, not paying attention. I had to keep reminding them which ones were the nettles. :P

 

stinging-nettle.jpg

Edited by Ambrosia
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stinging-nettle.jpg

 

Me hates 'em! I, too, have trouble picking these guys out.

 

Question: Do they flower (yellow)?

I've never actually seen them flower, so I don't know. You can kinda see in that picture that they develop these long green tassels, though.

 

I have them in my yard. It's one of the few draw backs of living with a creek/natural area. :laughing:

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well, I don't remember noticing any plants that looked like the ones pictured, but honestly, I wasn't noticing the vegetation until I started hurting, and it got so bad, so quickly, that I bailed out of there w/o stopping to check out the plants/grasses.

FYI, this was off of Chandler Rd, or 1431, in Round Rock...the cache was located alongside the road, just west of I-35.

I seem to be recovering, and have promised myself that I will now wear jeans & sneakers for every future hunt, no matter how hot it is outside!!! :laughing:

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Definitely sounds like stinging nettles, <_< I had never encountered them in 6 years of caching until this summer. Bud and I walked across an area full of them, like the picture above in order to find a cache. By the time we reached the cache it felt like my legs were on FIRE. I had never had such an intense itching sensation on my legs ever! Luckily we had some Buji stowed in the truck once we walked the trail back trying desperately not to scratch. The Buji worked well to calm the itch.

 

Thanks for the heads up on the "jewelweed" Robespierre, I had seen some of those plants this past weekend while caching and wondered what they were.

 

Biggest lesson learned was wear long pants, even when caching in the hottest part of summer. :rolleyes:

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Stinging nettles are why I always wear long pants while caching. Unfortunately I learned the hard way that nettles can get right through your pants if you give them the opportunity. In this case, I was sitting on a hill side with my legs right on top of them (they were low to the ground due to being mown). It took about 10 minutes, but then I got the full miserable effect.

 

To AustinSweetnSour' original post: It sounds like the nettles could easily have been concealed in that long grass. If you aren't looking for them, they can blend right in.

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Nettles are an interesting plant, if you brush them you'll get the 'sting', but if you grip them firmly you won't. They are also edible! Harvest the leaves (with that firm grasp), boil them, changing the water twice (to get rid of the nasties) and serve them like spinch.

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Nettles are an interesting plant, if you brush them you'll get the 'sting', but if you grip them firmly you won't. They are also edible! Harvest the leaves (with that firm grasp), boil them, changing the water twice (to get rid of the nasties) and serve them like spinch.

Or make tea out of them. I did this once out of revenge when one got me. It had sort of a camomille flavor. I believe you can pan fry them, also. The heat neutralizes the sting. Young ones are supposed to be better.

Edited by Dinoprophet
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Great source of vitamin c.
So are pine needles but I'm not going to eat those either. :blink:

 

 

Anyhow nettles do not look anything like grass. So I'm skeptical about nettles being the source of the OPs stinging problem. We do have some grass out here called Pampas grass that is nasty to walk through. We also have foxtail grass which is my least favorite grass to walk through. It leaves hundreds of little jabbers in your socks and boots which can stick into you.

Edited by TrailGators
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We've had something similar in our yard here in Austin, but I could never figure out what it was that kept stinging us. As I was working in a nature preserve today, I was constantly being stung on my arms and legs. I finally asked one of the Native Plant Society volunteers and her guess (after looking around a second) was all the vines of Tragia family (various names associated with Noseburn).

 

They come in a variety of types and range from tiny vines (we rarely saw them today, just felt the effect) up to more bush like plants. They could have easily been hidden within tall grass and you'd never have know it. They don't look like a nettle and I couldn't see any stinging hairs that you might see on a nettle or similar plant.

 

Here's a quote: (Tragia Source)

The stinging hairs which cover the entire plant have sharp silicaceous points which break off when touched and penetrate the skin. In addition to mechanical injury, sharp burning pain and inflammation occurs, like the effects produced by nettles (Urtica L. species, fam. Urticaceae) (Behl et al. 1966).

 

I also get the effect you describe..intense burning for a period of time, sometimes welts, and over all stinging. It's not as intense as some nettles I've hit and doesn't feel scratchy like a grass or briar scratching you.

 

My guess anyhow.

 

P.S. I still refuse to wear long pants when caching until our 3 weeks of winter are here!! :)

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If you are keeping in the back of your mind the info about the Jewel weed, they also have yellow flowers too on occasion. The rest of the plant looks the same.

 

So, which part of the plant helps, and, how do I use it?!?

 

No one has answered this yet, so I will...

It is the juice from the stems that take away the sting.

Crush the stems and rub the juice on. For large affected

areas, you'd need a *lot* of jewelweed, but it does work.

The juice is also excellent on mosquito bites - it takes away

the itch almost instantly :)

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Not to go too far off topic.

The roots of the stinging nettle are also good for helping to reduce swollen prostrate glands. Not sure how you would prepare them for that, but they can be bought at a natural foods store.

 

Please tell me you meant PROSTATE glands.... :) although, swollen ones may have you prostrated...

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QUOTE(uxorious @ Sep 28 2007, 10:51 AM)

 

Not to go too far off topic.

The roots of the stinging nettle are also good for helping to reduce swollen prostrate glands. Not sure how you would prepare them for that, but they can be bought at a natural foods store.

 

 

Please tell me you meant PROSTATE glands.... although, swollen ones may have you prostrated...

 

Oops, that's what happens when I get too used to spell checker, and let it do my proof reading for me. :)

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I seem to be recovering, and have promised myself that I will now wear jeans & sneakers for every future hunt, no matter how hot it is outside!!! :)

 

No need to wear hot, heavy, jeans. Get some nice, light hiking pants.

http://www.google.com/search?q=hiking+pants

I got some really nice probably overpriced ones from REI. But it was worth it, they are WAY better than jeans for caching.

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An allergic reaction, maybe?

 

Was this in Texas (I'm asking because that's where your profile indicates that you've found caches)? I would think that Texas would be a little too arid for stinging nettle, which usually likes mesic (moist) habitats, but I don't know enough about the flora of that region.

 

My personal experience with Texas vegetation back at Woodstock 4 was that everything bites back- it seemed that every plant had some sort of thorn, sticker, or needle on it :) .

 

Texas DOES have nettles, particularly central TX around Killean, Waco, Fort Hood area. And it looks nearly the same as the species that grows here in Minnesota.. although we have several species, the base characteristics are all the same. Not grass-like.. but I know that is not the implication.

 

I can tell you for a fact that northern Texas has plenty of stinging nettles! I can recall many times hunting, camping, exploring and caching that I have ran into them. They can be intertwined in other plants and grasses and you will not even know they are there until you "experience" them! OUCH!!!

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While out caching yesterday, I had to walk through what appeared to be innocent-looking grass, about knee-high. After a couple of minutes of doing this, I noticed my legs were on fire! It felt like I was being stung by hundreds of little fireants, but there was nothing visible on my legs. The stinging spread to my arms and the side of my face, as I touched it, and it was pretty miserable. I got out of there as soon as possible, taking a shortcut up the hill, rather than back through where I'd came from, and upon investigation, I had all sorts of rashy-looking welts on my legs and arms. The stinging abated somewhat over the course of the day, but I'm still itchy this morning. What in the world was that grass? Someone told me it was "stinging grass" but I didn't find much of anything online about it...any ideas?

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I go out all times of the year. Raised in MD and PA rarely did I have anything nasty get me. But here in NC there are some unexplained things that I have had reactions to. About a month ago, out for a saturday caching. Nothing unusual, some bushwhacking with long pants. I broke out inside my right shoe the next day. Still have no idea what it could have been. Someone suggested chiggers, but the welts did not fit the M.O. Poison plant, maybe: but I'm not allergic to anything I know of, and how would it be insided the sock and shoe on only one foot. Itched like crazy for about a week. Still don't know what it could have been but I haven't been busting much brush busting lately, waiting for the first frost!

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Stinging nettles grow everywhere in England and make summertime caching a nightmare.

 

We are lucky to not have to worry about snakes & spiders, even poison ivy but i think the nettles come close! The trouble is that they almost completely die off for the winter with not much trace, so new caches which are placed in wintertime are likely to be stuck in the middle of a field of nettles come summertime, they smell horrible too! a nasty musty smell to them, not very nice at all.

 

Once stung your skin swells up into a white rash whih eventually disappears but can feel a bit sensitive to brushing for a few days afterwards (a bit like having splinters and catching them on your clothes). Common thing to do in England is find some good size dock leaves & rub them on the stings.

 

I'm sure i read somewhere that the ancient romans used to brush their bodies with stinging nettles before going into battle because it made them feel quite warm, not too sure about that fact though :)

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If you are keeping in the back of your mind the info about the Jewel weed, they also have yellow flowers too on occasion. The rest of the plant looks the same.

 

So, which part of the plant helps, and, how do I use it?!?

 

The main branch is full of liquid - break it open and smear it all over - it is lovely to smell like a weed.

 

If you don't have anything else - it helps some just to wash the Nettle off your legs with anything. I used Gator Aid once and it helped about 50%. Jewel weed works on any kind of sting and PI as well. It grows near damp places like creeks. Orange Trumpet bloom after Mid July.

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when i lived in flour bluff wich is between corpus christi and the island we had stinging nettle all over our yard so it does grow this far south. the one thing i remember was the fact that the area affected would tingle for at least a week.

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While out caching yesterday, I had to walk through what appeared to be innocent-looking grass, about knee-high. After a couple of minutes of doing this, I noticed my legs were on fire! It felt like I was being stung by hundreds of little fireants, but there was nothing visible on my legs. The stinging spread to my arms and the side of my face, as I touched it, and it was pretty miserable. I got out of there as soon as possible, taking a shortcut up the hill, rather than back through where I'd came from, and upon investigation, I had all sorts of rashy-looking welts on my legs and arms. The stinging abated somewhat over the course of the day, but I'm still itchy this morning. What in the world was that grass? Someone told me it was "stinging grass" but I didn't find much of anything online about it...any ideas?

 

That usually refers to Saw Grass and usually in Florida

 

Added:

 

I just looked at the image and that's not Saw Grass... Not sure what it is.. :lol:

Edited by wkmccall
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