Top 6 Most Annoying Woodland Plants

December 2, 2013

If you have spent any length of time in the woods, you have probably come across these plants before. They cause issues with you and sometimes your pets. There can be several types of mishaps that can happen with these plants. Check it out!


Cocklebur Photo Credit:

Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, and Poison Sumac

I group all of these in the same category and count them as one, since they do about the same thing. These annoying plants are usually synonymous with being in the woods–the key plants to look out for. “Leaves of three leave it be” works fine for poison oak and poison ivy, but for poison sumac, not so much.

When exposed to any of these plants, you break out in a rash that itches, and it can spread. In really bad cases, someone may need a doctor’s assistance. It’s quite embarrassing to have pink calamine blotches on you when you go out somewhere! Hydrocortisone also works.

Stinging Nettle

Another contact plant that causes discomfort. It causes itching and burning when you touch the barbs on the stems and leaves. Doctor’s assistance is not usually required for stings unless you are extremely allergic. Calamine and hydrocortisone also work.


What is most annoying about this plant is not really a physical discomfort like with the 3 poisons and the nettle, rather it is what it can do to your clothes. The black berries have a dark purple juice that can stain your clothes–permanently. Bleach may not get all of it out. So watch where you sit or keep the kids from throwing the berries at one another, if they aren’t in their play clothes. Don’t eat the berries either–they’re poisonous.


These plants produce these things by the hundreds. They come in a variety of sizes. They stick to your clothes and hair just like Velcro, maybe better. Most of the time you may not even know you have them on you until you just happen to look down and your pants and shirt are covered with them. Removing them from pet hair can be a nightmare, especially the larger ones. Many times I had to cut a chunk of hair from my dog or cat, because it wasn’t coming out any other way!

The only recourse is to pick them off a few at a time.

Beggar’s Lice

No, it’s not a louse. This plant poses a similar problem as the cockle burs, but probably more insidious. As opposed to cockleburs, beggars lice is flat and sticks to you a lot tighter than a bur. They seem to produce more of the sticky seeds than burs. These are a little harder and more time consuming to get off. When you find them, you are usually eaten up with them!

Needle Grass

Another variation of the cocklebur/ beggar’s lice dilemma, but this time with a bunch of tiny little spears instead of burs or flat little pods. Needle grass usually grows in fields or open areas so there are a field of these. Probably a lot easier to avoid than beggar’s lice or cockleburs.

Have questions, comments, or funny stories? Leave them below!

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AK Taylor

About the Author

AK Taylor

AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.

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  • Dan Kleinman says:

    For poison ivy, Tecnu is outstanding. It’s far, far better than any other remedy (unless the active ingredient is substantially similar) but must be used within a certain number of hours or it’s too late.

    For begger’s lice, cockleburs, a handy multitool with pliers helps regarding clothing. Not sure about dogs!!

  • AK Taylor says:

    Thanks for those nice remedies! I’ve also heard that natural cotton helps remove beggar’s lice a bit faster 🙂

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