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Common Nettle

Urtica dioica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.

Plant Data

Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Order:
Rosales
Family:
Urticaceae (Nettle)
Also in this family:
Type:
Flower
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Habitats:
Farmland, fens, gardens, hedgerows, roadsides, wasteland, woodland.

Flower:
֍
Green, 4 petals
 
Male and female catkins on separate plants. Green catkins (sometimes tinged purple) hang down from the leaf axils. Yellow anthers.
Fruit:
The fruit of the Stinging Nettle is a small, dry, oval shaped seed.
Leaves:
The leaves can be either light or dark green. They grow in opposite pairs along the stems and have saw-tipped margins. The shape of their leaves are oval or narrowly egg-shaped and they have pointed tips. The bases of their leaves are rounded and stipules are present. The leaf stalks of the Stinging Nettle reach about 3 inches in length. The surfaces of their leaves are smooth on both sides. Their surfaces have small hairs on them which sting you if you touch them. The sting is caused by the formic acid which is present in the leaves. The formic acid is destroyed on cooking the leaves.
Aroma:
The leaves have a strong minty aroma which most people find appealing.
Other Names:
American Stinging Nettle, Big Sting Nettle, California Nettle, Common Perennial Nettle, Common Stinging Nettle, Devil's Apron, Devil's Leaf, European Nettle, Giant Nettle, Greater Nettle, Heg-beg, Hoky-poky, Jenny-nettle, Naughty Man's Plaything, Scaddie, Slender Nettle, Stinging Nettle, Sting-leaf, Tall Nettle, Tall Wild Nettle, Tanging Nettle, Wild Nettle.
Frequency (UK):
Abundant  
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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