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Common Nettle

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A ubiquitous weed found almost anywhere!


Common nettle: Do NOT grasp the nettle

Post date: Wednesday, 11 June, 2014 - 00:00

The common nettle (Urtica dioica) is usually called the stinging nettle and I am sure we all discovered this plant at an early age the painful way! It has a fluid containing a histamine that 'irritates' should the hairs of the plant touch your skin. Despite this the plant has long been associated with herbal medicine and is linked to to a wide range of conditions for which it is considered a remedy. It is also used to make wine!

The common nettle is another of those dilemma plants. Where it grows it swamps everything else to form an expanse, almost a monoculture, and yet this is such an important plant for all sorts of insects, especially as the food plant for caterpillars of some butterfly and moth species. Some insects (the green nettle weavil for example) live only on this plant.
Common nettles grow just about anywhere where the soil is phosphate enriched which means that it tends to grow where there has been human interference in the soil, often near ex-human habitation. You can find it in hedgerows, waysides, woods, even damp areas such as fens. Although the plant is evident for most of the year its flowers appear from May to August.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Common Nettle
Scientific Name Urtica dioica
Family Nettle family - Urticaceae
Status very common
Interest Level
Species Family Goosefoot Family - Amaranthaceae
Flower Colour Group Green
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
Preferred Environment
Look for Creamy green flowers in tassels
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
BA: Arable farmland Associated
BF: Fringes - roadsides, bare ground & wasteland Associated