You are here

Common Nettle

Urtica dioica
Urtica dioica
Did you know that… ?
  • …the stinging hairs of nettles are permeated by silicon?
  • …nettles are used as a remedy for aching joints, anemia, bleeding and in the form of an infusion (tea) as a body cleansing agent after the long winter months?
  • …nettles have both male and female organs on the same plant?
  • …despite their stinging hairs, nettles are food for the caterpillar stage of some butterflies?
Urtica dioica - image is under CC BY-SA
General info
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Urticales
Size: up to 15 cm
Habitat: forests, damp environments, weedy areas, gardens, hothouses
Distribution: cosmopolitan
Relationship with humans: useful

Nettles are 15-centimeter tall flowering herbs, often growing in hostile, human-damaged biotopes. They have sawtooth-edged leaves covered with stinging hairs. These hairs form from erection of the leaf surface, and are very brittle - they easily break on contact and the poison inside, which is thus transferred into the skin, causes pain, itching and blisters. Roots of nettles are very tough and have a bright yellow color.