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Urtica_urens - L.

Common Name Annual Nettle
Family Urticaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin[21, 200]. This action is neutralized by heat so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious[200]. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys[172].
Habitats A weed of cultivated land and waste places, preferring light soils[17].
Range Northern temperate regions, including Britain.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Full sun
Urtica_urens Annual Nettle


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Urtica_urens Annual Nettle
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Urtica_urens is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to September, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Edible Uses

Young leaves - cooked and used as a potherb[1, 9, 12, 46, 105, 183]. A very nutritious food, high in vitamins and minerals, it makes an excellent spinach substitute and can also be added to soups and stews. Only use the young leaves and wear stout gloves when harvesting them to prevent getting stung. Although the fresh leaves have stinging hairs, thoroughly drying or cooking them destroys these hairs. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoots[200].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a tonic and blood purifier. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic[4, 9, 21, 36, 165, 238]. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding[4], it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema[238]. Externally, the plant is used to treat arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc[238]. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use[4, 238]. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments[222]. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns[4]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant, gathered when in flower[232]. A useful first-aid remedy, it is used in the treatment of ailments such as bites and stings, burns, hives and breast feeding problems[232].

Other Uses

A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems[200]. Used for string and cloth[1, 4, 6, 13, 36], it also makes a good quality paper[115]. It is harvested as the plant begins to die down in early autumn[99]. An essential ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator[32], the leaves are also an excellent addition to the compost heap[12, 18, 20] and they can be soaked for 7 - 21 days in water to make a very nutritious liquid feed for plants[54]. This liquid feed is both insect repellent and a good foliar feed[14, 18, 53]. The growing plant increases the essential oil content of other nearby plants, thus making them more resistant to insect pests[18, 20, 54]. A hair wash is made from the infused leaves and this is used as a tonic and antidandruff treatment[172]. A green dye is obtained from the leaves and stems[4, 115, 232]. A yellow dye is obtained from the root[115, 232]. An oil extracted from the seeds is used as an illuminant in lamps[232].

Cultivation details

Prefers a nitrogen-rich soil[200]. The best fibre is produced when plants are grown on deep fertile soils[200]. Dislikes shade[17].

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Martin   Mon Nov 4 10:04:23 2002

Link: Gardening Database A database of plants both species and varieties are listed

   Mar 15 2016 12:00AM

Please include information on uses of the roots of nettles

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