Nettles and Ragweed

Poison ivy, oak and sumac are not the only plants that can cause miserable rashes. Here are three commonly found plants that cause misery for many people.


The first two, Wood Nettle and Stinging Nettle, are commonly used as herbal remedies. The root is used for joint ailments, as a diuretic and as an astringent. The top portion of the plant is used to treat UTI's, kidney stones and as irrigation therapy. Both can cause a miserable rash though!

Wood Nettle can have purple or green leaves, with hairs that stick straight up and out. These hairs are stingers that penetrate the skin and can cause itchy, reddish welts. It is found at the bottom of streams, rivers and forests.

Stinging Nettle, like Wood Nettle, also has stinging hairs, but is found close to mountains and within forests and has salmon colored flowers that are shaped like hearts. The hairs on Stinging Nettle are known to cause itching, inflammation and pain.

The key to identifying a Wood Nettle vs a Stinging Nettle is in the leaf pattern. Wood Nettle leaves alternate along the stem, whereas Stinging Nettle leaves are placed opposite one another, as pictured here:


The third plant that commonly causes rashes is Ragweed. Most people are familiar with respiratory reactions to Ragweed, but it can also cause a painful, itchy rash comprised of small bumps and blisters. Ragweed is commonly found in rural areas and open spaces with plenty of sunlight.

Like poison ivy and oak, topical anti-itch treatments may offer some relief, and if your rash is severe always consult a medical professional.

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.
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