16 responses to “Urtica dioica”

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    I’ve walked through patches of stinging nettle growing above my head before. Mosquito netting isn’t just for mosquitoes!

  2. Katherine

    Great photo! And I was interested to learn about how it “stings” — I never had it in my garden until a few years ago when I tried a new compost brand. The first time I weeded that area, I thought something bit me! I couldn’t find anything and then I noticed the different plant and saw its thorn-like hairs. Looked it up on the web.
    But it’s nice to know that it really does sting by injecting chemicals, and that accounts for why it hurts so much from such a tiny thing (the one that first got me was only 2-3 inches tall).
    Thanks for such interesting info!

  3. Charles Tubesing

    I remember a tasty cream of nettle soup served by the FOGs to the garden staff at a holiday luncheon in the early 1980s!

  4. Bonaventure Magrys

    Young shoots make a great spinach, boiled briefly, then topped with butter and salt.

  5. alphabetjohn

    Both photos are break-your-heart beautiful!! And I, too, have been “bitten” while working in the herb garden at Memphis Botanic Garden–in spite of being warned!

  6. Dean Dietrich

    This is a plant I know all to well working at Jenkins Arboretum in Devon PA. We call it the 7 minute itch. Lucky enough there is a natural relief for the itch usually growing close by Stinging Nettle. The sap of Impatiens capensis aka Jewelweed can calm the discomfort.

  7. Jane Levy Campbell

    Great to see the eye’s view along with the microscopic view.
    I’ll pass on a bit of folk wisdom: You can neutralize the sting of a stinging nettle by rubbing the affected area with dock leaf. Rumex obtusifolius is the broad-leaved dock; maybe others work as well? They tend to grow in the same conditions as stinging nettle, so are often found nearby. It works for me, and many others report the same, though I don’t know the chemical basis for the interaction.

  8. Pat Willits

    Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, works for me. Every time I’ve been stung, red elderberry has been right there. Rub the leaves on the affected area until your skin is green.

  9. Trisha Mason

    I remember camping some 50 yrs ago in Central Texas and hiking out to a fishing pond with my dad and little brother. My brother, maybe 5 or 6 at the time brushed against stinging nettle. My dad shredded a cigarette and made my brother urinate on the tobacco then used it as a wet dressing on the nettle burn. Either it worked or my brother was distracted/fascinated by the process. By the time we had hiked back to my mom, my brother was happily telling the story of peeing on a cigarette and none the worse for wear. You learn the best stuff out camping, like what nettle looks like and how to avoid it.

  10. Mary

    I love early spring nettles the best lightly fried to break down the “sting” and was happy to discover a cheese from Wisconsin made with stinging nettles called Burning Melange. Hope the link to it works..I sure didn’t like it in the cow pastures of my youth. Our holstein milker cow Star knew we were reluctant to get her out of patches of the plant when she didn’t want to come and would stand in the middle daring us.

  11. frances howey

    While touring the Botanic Garden at Dunedin, NZ, when I asked about poisonous plants, Urtica feroz was pointed out. It was set back a distance from the path so that people couldn’t come into contact with it. Supposedly, a small animal such as guinea pig can die from being pricked by it. Sounded like quite a monster plant to me.

  12. Bonnie Moro

    Nettles are host species for the larvae of some butterflies too, although I’m never sure which ones in our area (Pacific Northwest). Does anyone have good information on this?

  13. taisha.jm

    Hi Bonnie,
    I found the resource (PDF),Lepidoptera of the Pacific Northwest: Caterpillars and Adults
    It lists Urtica dioica as the host to Abrostola urentis, Hypena californica, Hypena humuli, Nymphalis milberti, Polygonia satyrus, Vanessa annabella, Vanessa Atlanta, and Udea profundalis.

  14. Bonnie Moro

    Thanks taisha.jm!! What a great resource that PDF is.

  15. Doug

    You might want to look at HOSTS – a Database of the World’s Lepidopteran Hostplants from The Natural History Museum (a UK site, but claims to be a global database).

  16. Ian

    While traveling in Cornwall a couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of sampling some Yarg. Wonderful cheese with a rind of stinging nettle. Of course, well aged and delicious.

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