Sunday, May 27, 2012

The bullnettle


With all the flower photos I have been taking around my house, for lack of anything better to photograph, I felt compelled to shoot this fine specimen.  This plant also has small white blossoms, but they are past the flowering stage now.  I know from experience that these don't grow much in the S.A. area, but they are common and cursed out here in the sandhills.

Once I mentioned this plant to a co-worker, and he had never seen one, so I cut one off and took it to work with me the next day to show to him.  He was impressed, I guess, if that's the right word.  I put it back in my truck and he asked me why I didn't just throw it in the trash.  I told him I wasn't going to take a chance with it escaping into the wild in S.A. because I didn't want to be responsible for that.

There are lots of "regular" nettle plants that grow in the S.A. area, but the pain they can inflict if you accidentally bump into one is so minimal that I don't even consider them as real threats.  If you ever bump into one of these, you will know about it.

This plant is called a bullnettle.  By the way, I learned from my grandmother that those big clumpy-looking things on them, which she called "bullnettle nuts," are technically edible, but in my opinion getting at the "meat" is more trouble than it's worth.  Although I have done it, to satisfy my own curiosity.  I used leather work gloves and two pocket knives.

Dave, if you read this, this plant also probably grows in the area of your new home.  They are very hard to get rid of, and I learned from a very young age to simply avoid them.  When I was a kid, we had one very large specimen--it would have put this one to shame--that kept coming back after it was cut off.  So one day my dad decided to dig out the root.  The thing he eventually pulled out of the ground was about 4 feet long and probably 5 inches thick at its thickest point, and he didn't even get the whole root.  He cut it off deep in the ground and re-buried it, and that was enough to finally kill it.

Once when I was a teenager, I was helping my dad to herd our cows and as I was running around to cut them off and head them in the right direction, I was paying too much attention to the cows and not looking where I was going.  I ran right over one of these that was waist-high on me and got the full effect of it in both legs.  Man, that hurt.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting specimen. I believe it that it is edible. The artichoke is a nettle, in case you didn't know, and the part we it is the unopened flower bud, just like the one on the bull nettle you have there. The only difference is that the artichoke is a lot larger. If you were to let an artichoke ripen, it opens into a large flower.