Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Spurge-nettle - Cnidoscolus stimulosus   (Michaux) Engelmann & A. GrayOnly member of Cnidoscolus in NC.
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Section 6 » Family Euphorbiaceae
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Author(Michaux) Engelmann & A. Gray
DistributionCoastal Plain, Sandhills, and southern Piedmont -- west to Polk County and north to Rowan and Franklin counties.

Mostly Coastal Plain, southeastern VA to southern FL and southeastern LA. Records from KY are from along railroads and are probably adventive.
AbundanceCommon in the Sandhills and in other sandy soils eastward, to encompass the southern half of the Coastal Plain. Fairly common in the central part of the province, but mostly uncommon or infrequent in the northern portions. Rare and local in the Piedmont part of the range.
HabitatDry to xeric sandy soil of Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass uplands, pea swales, sandhills, Carolina bay rims, stable dune barrens, and sandy powerline clearings; in the Piedmont in sandy/dry woodland openings and on the "south bank of Broad River" in Cleveland County.
See also Habitat Account for Xeric-Mesic Sand Barrens and Glades
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late March - early September.
IdentificationSpurge-nettle is immediately recognized by its broad, deeply 3-lobed, and irregularly toothed leaves and its large, bright white flowers with 5 petal-like sepals (true petals are absent). Virtually the whole plant is covered with short stinging hairs, potent for up to half an hour in some people. This is an easily found species in much of the Coastal Plain and Sandhills, impossible to overlook.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Bull-nettle, Tread-softly. Often known as Tread-softly, at least in the Carolinas, but most references/websites prefer to use Spurge Nettle (or Spurge-nettle). As it is not a member of the nettle family (Urticaceae), it is best to hyphenate the name.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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