Almost everyone has experienced stinging nettles! As a child, I came into contact with the plants' hollow stinging hairs on many occasion. These hairs act like hypodermic needles that inject histamine and other chemicals. These wild plants used to dictate where we could and couldn't play! I can understand why most people see these perennial flowering plants as troublesome weeds, but everyone should know how the humble nettle has played an important role in the natural world and continues to do so!
The 18th to 29th of May is 'Be nice to nettles week'. This week is an initiative brought forward by CONE which aims to create awareness concerning our Urtica dioica (common nettle).
For more information about nettles and CONE's initiative, please visit their website:
One young lady who is helping to promote the image of the common nettle is Kailee in Wisconsin, USA. One of her projects as a biology student was to create informative webpages detailing some of the many uses of this plant. One recipe mentioned within her project is for 'Nettle Pesto'. I have yet to try this recipe, but it is definitely one that I will be attempting! To view Kailee's work, please click here!
For all the technical details concerning Urtica dioica, everything from ideal soil type, distribution, textiles, food and medicinal uses can all be found in Wikipedia's pages for Stinging Nettle.