Stinging Nettle, Not Your Friend

by Donna Lewis

Ouch!!

This week, I bare handedly pulled what I thought was a little weed in my garden. Hot Dog!!!  The little beauty was a stinging nettle plant  (Urtica dioica).   

Stinging nettle. The owie plant.

Stinging doesn’t really describe it; it’s more like intense pain instantly!!  The family and genus comes from the Latin uro which means “I burn”.

Being a Master Naturalist, I try not to label anything a “weed.” Everything has a purpose for someone. Nettle plants actually have a lot of good things nature and humans can use them for. Here are some examples:

  • This nettle is the host plant for the Red Admiral and Question Mark butterflies.
  • It makes a soothing tea. 
  • Parts of it are edible when cooked properly.

The stinging nettle is not to be confused with the larger Bull Nettle, which also has redeeming qualities, like beautiful white flowers.

But, beware to handle it with care. Some leather gloves might help.

I bet, at least for a while, I will be more careful.

PS: This post was from the end of April, but your blogger has had some issues getting posts done. Time to catch up!