Hopefully you found some of the information yesterday interesting and hopefully you will find some even more interesting information today. Yesterday we discussed the impressive tap root system of the Texas Bull Nettle plant. I also pointed out that Texas Bull Nettle is considered an herb. As an herb it actually has some useful aspects because it is edible. That’s right. That plant that is responsible for so much pain inflicted around our house and many others is edible. According to Foraging Texas the tap root can be harvested, peeled, and cooked like potato, either roasted or boiled. As you recall from yesterday the tap root is actually 15″+ below and to the side of the plant so it can be tricky to locate unless you use the handy information from yesterday. The photo on the left is not the root you want but rather the one on the right.
In addition to the tap root, the seeds can be eaten as well. To harvest the seeds use some thick leather gloves or tongs and cut the pod off the plant. Place it in a paper sack and let it sit until it shrivels and cracks open. At this point just collect the seeds and roast them in the oven and enjoy! I can’t wait to try some. I have about 20 seed pods just waiting in a bag to open up. If you are feeling especially adventurous you can grind the seeds up into something similar to cornmeal. Maybe I will try this too in the future. Nettle has been known to be used as a tea, a vitamin K supplement, as a treatment for arthritis and other ailments, as well as for other foods, however I was unable to locate anything referencing any use of Texas Bull Nettle specifically other than the tap root or seeds. If anyone has any knowledge on using Texas Bull Nettle specifically for any other type of consumption I would love to hear from you.
Now if you fail to head my warning to use the tongs or gloves, or should you be unfortunate enough to touch the plant be prepared for a mighty strong bite. Let me also warn you that many people (most that I have found) have an allergic reaction to the sting or the milky white sap of the plant. In our family all 4 of us generally recover quickly from the sting of the plant (usually within 30 min give or take) but about 24 hrs later we get a horrible rash which itches and burns similar to poison ivy but more uncomfortable. We can’t help but scratch and just like ivy, it spreads and develops blisters on the rash. It appears very similar to this (although this is actually a picture of a poison ivy rash as I did not have a picture of one of our rashes on hand).
We haven’t found a remedy that works for us other than time and minimizing our scratching to stop the spread, but just in case you want to try some here are the most popular ones I have found:
- tobacco spit rubbed on the site immediately (I’m gonna pass on this one as I do not dip and I don’t want anyone else’s spit on me, but some people swear by it)
- a baking soda paste applied for 30 minutes at a time to the site 3 or more times a day until the site no longer itches or burns
- insect sting wipes or creams
- OTC hydrocortisone cream
- Urine (again I’m going to pass on this one)
- and for natural remedies curled dock or jewelweed plants rubbed on the sting site
If you have Texas Bull Nettle on your property and you aren’t interested in keeping it around (I know, it’s hard to imagine) there are a few ways to get rid of them but just know going into it that Texas Bull Nettle is very resilient and it will likely be a long term battle. One method I have heard of working is to dig down to the top of the tap root and place a #10 can over the tap root and push it down and cover it over. The only problem with this is that if you pull up the can for any reason the plant will come back. If you are ok using chemicals on your property (no judgment here, I have used chemicals in the past but I am trying to get away from them) then you can use this handy information from Texas A&M Extension. Outside of these two methods I have been unsuccessful in finding any info on how to control them, kill them, or completely eradicate them. If you have any luck finding a good method, please drop us a line. I’d love to hear about it. I hope you enjoyed this article on Texas Bull Nettle and I hope you learned something. Have a great day and God bless!