Nature Blog Network

Nettles

Large crops of nettles on the lane, mostly of the stinging variety rather than the similar (but unrelated) dead-nettles. They are strategically placed to block access to the raspberries… Both common species of nettle, the common nettle and the small nettle, are represented.

nettle thumbnail old nettle pic thumbnail

As well as protecting raspberries, nettles are used in making tea or soup, with the new shoots said to be particularly flavoursome. The sting inactivates on cooking. It is said to be high in protein, vitamins and minerals, particularly iron. It is also said to be diuretic.

They act as a habitat for a large number of insects, butterfly larvae and bees.

Nettles are naturally fire-resistant, a property which has been utilised in the manufacture of chemical-free fabrics for commercial premises. Apparently one of the limiting factors is the reliable supply of nettles.

National nettle week is in May - missed it this year!