Urtica dioica 

Stinging Nettle

Names and Myths

Urtica the Classical name

dioica two houses = dioecious male and female flowers, the plants are wind pollinated

Stinging Nettle

Natural history / Folklore

A perennial native to North America. Each plant can produce 20,000 seeds which ma remain viable for up to 10 years, and some colonies are believed to be over 50 years old.45

Considered to be one of the best wild foods, young leaves when chopped loose their sting in a few hours and can be used in salads. Young leaves and stems can be used in soups and stews. Older leaves should be avoided due to poor texture and strong taste.32

When used with alum they can dye wool a greenish yellow.32 Nettles were also a major source of fiber, being used for everything from sheets to cordage.57


Numerous clusters of small green flowers born in the leaf axils. Leaves opposite, stems with stinging hairs45.

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