Stinging nettles are easily recognised and, unfortunately, often easily felt as the whole plant is covered in stinging hairs. This is an effective way to avoid being eaten and makes patches of stinging nettles an important haven for many caterpillars and other insects. Cooking destroys the venom, and produces a pretty tasty vegetable or nutritious soup. Nettles contain more iron than spinach and are a rich source of vitamin C. Nettle tea is a favourite herbal medicine used to treat conditions such as gout and rheumatism.
Scientific name: Urtica dioica
Dr Yan takes the sting out of nettles to answer a user's science question.
Ouch! Dr Yan takes the sting out of nettles to answer a question from Ellen in New York, who asked: How do stinging nettles sting?
The following habitats are found across the Stinging nettle distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web