Bull Nettles and the Unusual Remedy

One of the hazards on the farm was bull nettles. Bull nettles are a low lying, big leafed plant with white flowers. The leaves are covered with thin hairs that severely irritate the skin if touched. The spines cause local swelling and and sting ferouciously. Young children would often wander into them. The webmaster remembers the sting of bull nettles he encountered while watching his father plow the field from the end of the rows. The folk remedy for stopping the sting was to urinate on the affected area. Yes, it really worked!


Coleburrs are weeds that have a small football-shaped seed pod with burrs. They spread themselves around by attaching themselves to an animal's tail or mane. It was not unusual for for a horse's mane to be so tangled with cockeburrs that was necessary to cut them out with shears.


Cattle normally do not eat the bitterweed, a small dark green plant with a yellow flower, but it was obvious when a milk cow partook of the noxious weed. BItterweed makes the milk, what else, bitter.


  1. M. Lee Murrah, Personal Recollections and Observations