Unlike cotton, nettles grow easily without pesticides. Two similar subspecies of stinging nettles are commonly found growing in North America. Weigh them down with a stone and fill it up with water. I have never tasted a cooked green – either wild or domestic – that I like better. [5][6] The plant has a long history of use as a source for traditional medicine, food, tea, and textile raw material in ancient societies such as the Saxons. Since nettles can grow up to 8 feet tall, going through a large patch of nettle can be a daunting prospect. [5] The term, contact urticaria, has a wider use in dermatology, involving dermatitis caused by various skin irritants and pathogens. [25] The same idiom exists in the Serbian language - неће гром у коприве. [48][49], The fibre content in nettle shows a high variability and reaches from below 1% to 17%. Stinging nettle can be found growing in Europe and the United States. [22], In Great Britain and Ireland, the stinging nettle (U. dioica subsp. In the German language, the idiom sich in die Nesseln setzen, or to sit in nettles, means to get into trouble. Gledhill, David (2008). Because of this, whenever I have moved, I always hunt around for mature specimens to take home and plant. However many of these plants, especially in natural areas, have been recognized as a native subspecies. Chances are the species has already made a home of unused areas of your garden, where it … These are basically biological hypodermic needles. Now, discover why stinging nettles "sting". In fact, over the years, I have experimented with this and have found the older and bigger the clump of Stinging Nettles, the better the greens taste. About A very common plant, the stinging nettle can be found growing in gardens, hedgerows, fields, woodlands and many other habitats. It contained various high value beads as well as fragments of a sash made from nettle fibre. I have never tasted a cooked green – either wild or domestic – that I like better. [31] In its peak season, nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable. The sentenced perpetrator of a crime was flogged with stinging nettle, in public, naked, whilst being showered with freezing cold water. Description. The cist dated from between 1730 and 1600 BC. In North America, it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii, and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. [57] The highest vitamin contents can be found in the leaves.[53]. So knowing this, don't even bother eating the greens from them the first year they come up if you do plant by seed. [15], Urtica dioica produces its inflammatory effect on skin (stinging, burning sensation often called "contact urticaria") both by impaling the skin via spicules – causing mechanical irritation – and by biochemical irritants, such as histamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine, among other chemicals. The soft, green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect, wiry, green stem. Research has shown that Nettle is a safe and natural way to prevent hair loss and promote sleek and healthy hair. After the harvest season, you don't have to do any maintenance, but you can do a couple of things. (By: kallerna GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2), (NOTE: If you are not interested in growing Stinging Nettles, but just finding the plant and using it, try going to the Nature's Restaurant Online site Stinging Nettle page.). In French, the idiom faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties (don't push grandma in the nettles) means that we should be careful not to abuse a situation. Transplanting: The best way to get these is by transplanting. [12] Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate[13] and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for nettles. Fibrous stems of mature plants can be used to make twine, fishing nets, snares and o… If planted in a spot it likes, each clump of it will grow more stems each year. Nice looking plant as well - but stingy. Stinging nettle is an astonishing plant with a wealth of uses. If you want to grow some, these seed heads will provide hundreds of seeds. It can grow up to 3 feet tall in moist, shady spots, in flood plains, woodlands and along streams and river banks. It grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, especially in places where annual rainfall is high. Stinging plant § Plants with stinging hairs, "Identifying plant fibre textiles from Norwegian Merovingian Period and Viking Age graves: The Late Iron Age Collection of the University Museum of Bergen", "Mechanism of Action of Stinging Nettles", "U.K. Standards of care for occupational contact dermatitis and occupational contact urticaria", "Home remedies: dock leaves for nettle stings", "The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Æsop For Children, by Æsop", "Grasping the nettle: an empirical enquiry", "The cist on Whitehorse Hill - Current Archaeology", "Gouda Cheese with Stinging Nettles: Cooking Terms", World Stinging Nettle Eating Championship attracts record crowd, "Homebrew from the hedgerow: nettle beer", "Galactagogue herbs: a qualitative study and review", "Ecuador's indigenous justice system on trial", "Nettle as a distinct Bronze-Age textile plant", "Second skin: why wearing nettles is the next big thing", "10 Jahre anbautechnische Versuche zu Fasernesseln (Urtica dioica L.) in Thüringen", "Production and processing of organically grown fiber nettle (Urtica dioica L.) and its potential use in the natural textile industry: A review", "USDA National Nutrient Database: raw carrot", "Oxidative stability of the meat of broilers supplemented with rosemary leaves, rosehip fruits, chokeberry pomace, and entire nettle, and effects on performance and meat quality", "Growth Performance, Blood Metabolites, Antioxidant Stability and Carcass Characteristics of Broiler Chickens Fed Diets Containing Nettle (Urtica dioica. It seems the dryer the spot in the spring they are growing in and/or the later in the season, the poorer the taste. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies. Heiko Bellmann: Der Neue Kosmos Schmetterlingsführer, Schmetterlinge, Raupen und Futterpflanzen, pg. However, I wanted the information to available to everyone free of charge, so I made this website. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) illustration. Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Stinging nettles are known throughout the world as a very nutritious and highly medicinal plant though you must be careful when harvesting them. [61][62][failed verification]. All this organic material helps keep the soil damper in the spring, and you will notice each perennial clump will get bigger and bushier each year. The roots are sometimes eaten by the larva of the ghost moth (Hepialus humuli). But seriously, be prepared to get stung unless you have the skill of a surgeon no matter how you do it. There is a bare handed technique for picking them. You can also turn nettles into a liquid fertilizer by filling a barrel with the leaves and branches. Touching any of these needles will inject you with the formic acid which causes an extremely painful burning sensation. Urtica dioica is considered to be native to Europe, much of temperate Asia and western North Africa. It can grow in a wide range of soil pH - from 5.0 to 8.0, so rarely that is a problem. [43] Urtication, or flogging with nettles is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin to provoke inflammation. [74], "Stinging nettle" redirects here. A distant mint relative, stinging nettles are equally invasive and need to be sternly managed . Don't worry about the stings unless you are one of the people allergic to bee stings. After the stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed-setting stages, the leaves develop gritty particles … Once you have the seeds, just spread them in the area you want the nettles right after getting home with them, and lightly rake into the soil and tamp down gently, and put on a thin leaf mulch. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce. This is best done in late fall - mid October to mid November. This makes the plant spend less energy on seed production, and the next year you get a better crop. [68], The stinging nettle can also be grown in controlled-environment agriculture systems, such as soil-less medium cultivations or aeroponics, which may achieve higher yields, standardize quality, and reduce harvesting costs and contamination. I did that, and do they ever like it. Mowing or weed-whacking won’t do the trick — in fact, these methods will likely make the stinging nettle grow back more densely. Hemp nettle, in some areas, can be easily confused with stinging nettle because it often grows in the same conditions, and is found in very similar locations as stinging nettle. The leaves and tops from the first year plants are not as good as from mature rootstock, so I'd pass on eating the leaves until the second year, and even those are not as good as from a plant that is many years old. If you do it right, you will bend off the stinging hairs as you are grabbing without getting stung – in theory (laughing). Where Nettles Grow: The plants take advantage of disturbed soils, including areas along roadsides. The ads on the site help cover the cost of maintaining the site and keeping it available. All Photographs Copyright © 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 David G. Mills except where noted.*. There are many other varieties of nettle that you can grow, but stinging nettle is the most common. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) originated in Europe but now grows on every continent but Antarctica , where-ever there is fertile, moist soil, and particularly where the soil has been disturbed. The flowers of the stinging nettle bloom between June and September. The other, U. dioic… If you don't have children or pets in the yard, this is a great plant to have for greens in the spring. There is variation in taste from different plants, so the first time you find one, take home some of the upper leaves, cook and see if they taste good. After that, it should be fine on its own. [3][4] The species is divided into six subspecies, five of which have many hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like hypodermic needles, injecting histamine and other chemicals that produce a stinging sensation upon contact ("contact urticaria", a form of contact dermatitis). Growing stinging nettle from seeds: Nettle seeds are small (about the size of a pin head) and while the seeds germinate quickly, the plants take a while to grow when started indoors. This plant can be found growing in the short grass prairie in North America, but it is common all over the world. That's it – you will have some in the spring. [53] Mature leaves contain about 40% α- linolenic acid, a valuable omega-3 acid. [44], In indigenous justice systems in Ecuador, urtication was used as punishment for severe crimes in 2010. Synthetic herbicides are horrid for the health of your ecosystem and present a far greater risk to the health of your pets and children than stinging nettle does. First year ones like this are not as good as the tops from mature rootstock. There is one odd, counter intuitive aspect to these greens: the greens from new, or first year plants don't taste very good. Stinging nettle is an herbaceous plant and often grows to about 2 metres (6.5 feet) in height. Read more on Gardener's Path. Wild Foods Home Garden Logo Copyright © 2017 David G. Mills. Once the leaves start to yellow in the fall, you can use the pair of hedge clippers to cut them back to about 10 cm (4 inches) high, leaving the stalks on the ground and cover with a layer of composted manure, compost and/or mulch. The taxonomy of Urtica species has been confused, and older sources are likely to use a variety of systematic names for these plants. [37][38] Similarly, in Greece the tender leaves are often used, after simmering, as a filling for hortopita, which is similar to spanakopita, but with wild greens rather than spinach for filling. Nettles are sometimes used in cheesemaking, for example in the production of Cornish Yarg[35] and as a flavouring in varieties of Gouda. If you have experienced the pain of a Stinging Nettle plant, wisdom would tell you to avoid it. Due to the variable fibre content, the fibre yields vary between 0.2 and 7 dt / ha, but the yields are normally in the range between 2 and 4 dt / ha. More recently, companies in Austria, Germany, and Italy have started to produce commercial nettle textiles. It is a heavy feeder needing a humus rich source of nitrogen so grows well in manured or fertilized soil. gracilis, is a North American native. [citation needed], Nettles have a number of other uses in the vegetable garden, including the potential for encouraging beneficial insects. I have a bad knee, and all season long, once per week I take a stalk from one of these and whack it against my knee on all sides until I've used up all the stingers. [1] It is abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. If you’re a gardener who enjoys raising non-traditional herbs in your garden, stinging nettle could still be your herb of choice. It spreads by abundant seeds and also by rhizomes, and is often able to survive and re-establish quickly after fire. The competition dates back to 1986, when two neighbouring farmers attempted to settle a dispute about which had the worst infestation of nettles. This keeps the plants shorter, which means they are less likely to topple over later in the year - they can get very tall if left. Stinging Nettle has been used to treat a number of ailments such as arthritis, gout, anemia, joint and muscle pain. You should get a lot of seeds quickly. In Dutch, a netelige situatie means a predicament. Root growth is limited by organic nitrogen and water table height. The stem is erect, square, and quite substantial, with tiny hairs all along the length, particularly on the corners. Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, has leaves and stems with tiny, hollow, tipped hairs. The way I like them best is a big plate of them lightly steamed and served with olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. The stinging nettle is one of more than 50 varieties of nettle plants worldwide. [52], Fresh leaves contain approximately 82.4% water, 17.6% dry matter, 5.5% protein, 0.7 to 3.3% fat, and 7.1% carbohydrates. [39], In the UK, an annual World Nettle Eating Championship draws thousands of people to Dorset, where competitors attempt to eat as much of the raw plant as possible. [31] Soaking stinging nettles in water or cooking removes the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without injury. What this translates to, is that if you want to grow really tasty Stinging Nettle greens, you need to find or make a location that is damp in the spring where the soil is very rich. The best thing you can do for it is dig in a layer of composted manure into the soil where you are going to seed or transplant to. (By: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany). [53] Nettle contains much less carotenes and retinol than carrots, which contain 8.35 RE per g fresh weight. Whoever strips and eats the most stinging nettle leaves in a fixed time is the winner. It’s a relative of mint plants, so it shares the same invasive quality. Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as polenta, pesto, and purée. Young plants were harvested by Native Americansand used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) are one of more than 50 varieties of nettle plants worldwide. [23] In Seán O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock, one of the characters quotes Aesop "Gently touch a nettle and it'll sting you for your pains/Grasp it as a lad of mettle and soft as silk remains". They will turn brown when ready to harvest the seeds, usually mid September to mid October. Seeds contain much more fatty acid than leaves.[54]. And for this very reason, it’s not liked by many, plus it has tiny spiky hair, and if you happen to touch them, they prick your skin and inject a dose of chemicals like histamine and formic acid. How to pick them: One way is to use gloves and a bag. [46], Historically, nettles have been used to make clothing for almost 3,000 years, as ancient nettle textiles from the Bronze Age have been found in Denmark. Young Stinging Nettle growing in with pink Impatiens in flower. Nettle was believed to be a galactagogue – a substance that promotes lactation. U. d. gracilis is the only perennial of the three. Cambridge University Press. The metaphor may refer to the fact that if a nettle plant is grasped firmly rather than brushed against, it does not sting so readily, because the hairs are crushed down flat and do not penetrate the skin so easily.[24]. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate, for urinary tract infections, for hay fever, or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites. After fermenting it for 5-6 weeks the nettle … Realize, you must use great care when raising and preparing it for use. U. dioica has a flavour similar to spinach mixed with cucumber when cooked, and is rich in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Impatiens flowers behind. If you do live in an area with acidic soils, such as with conifer trees all around or blueberries growing in the area, the solution is quite simple. [56] Depending on the batch and the leave and stem content, nettle contains only traces of zeaxanthin or between 20 – 60 mg / kg of dry matter. Just leave the cut off sections on the ground around them. The European subspecies has been introduced into Australia, North America and South America.[10][11]. However, at least six clear subspecies of U. dioica are described, some formerly classified as separate species: Other species' names formerly accepted as distinct by some authors but now regarded as synonyms of one or other subspecies include U. breweri, U. californica, U. cardiophylla, U. lyalli, U. major, U. procera, U. serra, U. strigosissima, U. trachycarpa, and U. viridis. are herbaceous, fast-growing plants native to the U.S. and Europe.Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, has leaves and stems with tiny, hollow, tipped hairs.It’s is native to most parts of the United States and Canada. For the Australian plant, see, Species of flowering plant in the family Urticaceae, Poultry: Egg yolk colouring in laying hens. Our guide on how to forage for nettles in Britain, with a few key details regarding where it can be found, characteristics and recipe ideas, plus how to pick and cook nettles without getting stung. The English word 'nettled', meaning irritated or angry, is derived from 'nettle'.[26]. Seeds: You can gather the tiny green/brown seeds from one in early fall just by tilting over a seed head on the plant into a jar or bag and rubbing it - there are no stingers on the ripe seed heads. By the way, each stinger is actually a natural hypodermic needle, and what it injects is anti-inflammatory (unless you are allergic to bee stings). It bears small, greenish or brownish, numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. Standard deviations are given in brackets. You can either add some lime to the top of the soil each year before adding the mulch and manure/compost, or if you heat with wood, spread the wood ash around on the ground in the area where they grow in the winter when you empty your stove. [5][16][17][18][19] Anti-itch drugs, usually in the form of creams containing antihistamines or hydrocortisone, may provide relief from nettle dermatitis. If you want to be able to eat the greens from these in your garden the first year after you start growing them, you really do need to transplant a well established plant. In the fall, cut back all but the top 6 to 10 inches of growth, dig it up with plenty of soil, put in a plastic bag or bucket, and transplant to where you want it. [67], Three cultivation techniques can be used for the stinging nettle: 1) direct sowing, 2) growing seedlings in nurseries with subsequent transplantation and 3) vegetative propagation via stolons or head cuttings. Stinging nettle is a perennial herb that grows from two to six feet tall, depending on the soil conditions and weather. It does well in low areas. Top leaves picked from the Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) early in the season are my absolute favorite cooked green. A poultice was to treat eczema, burns, cuts, and hemorrhoids. Originally native to Europe, much of temperate Asia and western North Africa,[1] it is now found worldwide, including New Zealand[2] and North America. [20] Dock leaves, which often grow in similar habitats, are regarded as a folk remedy to counteract the sting of a nettle,[21] although there is no evidence of any chemical effect. Standard deviations are given in brackets. As mentioned above, the combination of wood ash (if you can get it) and manure makes them grow so thick and tall it is amazing. At this stage both the leaves and stems are tender and edible. It may be that the act of rubbing a dock leaf against a nettle sting acts as a distracting counterstimulation, or that belief in the dock's effect provides a placebo effect. For myself, I find I need at least six perennial clumps (individual plants) per person. The plant can spread vegetatively with its yellow creeping rhizomes and often forms dense colonies. Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. (By: Randy A. Nonenmacher CC BY-SA 3.0). It spreads from rhizomes, and it can be either erect or sprawling. [1][7], Urtica dioica is a dioecious, herbaceous, perennial plant, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. The top baby leaves are selected and simmered, then mixed with other ingredients such as herbs and rice, before being used as a filling between dough layers. If so, wait until that fall to adopt it and make it part of your home garden family. Table 2: Carotenoid concentration of leaves of U. dioica (μg/ g dry weight). [50] Fibre varieties are normally cloning varieties and therefore planted from vegetative propagated plantlets. It is only early-in-the-season greens from established plants that are good to eat. [73], Urtica is derived from a Latin word meaning 'sting'. And because of its diuretic and digestive properties, it is still popular today in the treatment of urinary tract infections. L) Powder or Essential Oil", "Compost Teas vs Other Teas and Extracts", "Potential for Greenhouse Aeroponic Cultivation of Urtica Dioica", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Urtica_dioica&oldid=991655747, Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from September 2019, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2019, Articles with failed verification from March 2015, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Growing seedlings: For this technique pre-germinated seeds are sown between mid-/end-February and beginning of April and grown in, This page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at 04:32. Even if you transplant just one, you can get seeds from it next season and start many more. Nettles, Urtica spp. Text Copyright © 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 David G. Mills. The stinging nettle is the Red Admiral caterpillar's primary host plant and can attract migrating Red Admiral butterflies to a garden. Stinging Nettles are full of nutrients. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil, but is still common. Direct seeding is possible, but leads to great heterogeneity in maturity. They can be used in soups, baked dishes, anything. [51], Nettles may be used as a dye-stuff, producing yellow from the roots, or yellowish green from the leaves. [27] The idea was mentioned by William Camden in his book Britannia of 1586. Far too late for gathering leaves for food, but if you find some like this make note of the location, as there will be lots for picking next spring. One, Urtica dioica ssp. Originally the content in this site was a book that was sold through Amazon worldwide. There are many other varieties of nettle that you can grow, but stinging nettle is the most common. [54] For exact fatty acid contents see Table 1. [45], Nettle stems contain a bast fibre that has been traditionally used for the same purposes as linen and is produced by a similar retting process. [34] Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe. [40][41], Alcoholic beer can be made from young nettles. Competitors are given 60 cm (24 in) stalks of the plant, from which they strip the leaves and eat them. The tastiest seem to grow in damp, rich soils by river banks as soon as you can get them. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs, and in most subspecies, also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes or spicules), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that can inject several chemicals causing a painful sting or paresthesia, giving the species its common names: stinging nettle, burn nettle, burn weed, or burn hazel.[3][5][4]. Is the growing of this plant compatible with Natural farming, Ecoagriculture or Eco friendly agriculture, Ecological farming, Sustainable agriculture, Agroforestry or Agro-sylviculture and Permaculture: This long lived perenial root system is ideal for Natural farming or no-till garden methods. This plant will grow in full sun and partial shade. Harvesting: As soon as they are about 30 cm (1 foot) tall, begin harvesting the top 7.5 cm (3 inches) of greens. Soaking stinging nettles in water or cooking removes the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without injury. Once you get it established in a spot, it just produces year after year. But with the Stinging Nettle the pain is literal because its fine hairs, even only brushed lightly on bare skin bare skin, create the feeling akin to dozens of little syringes injecting fiery pain. Shakespeare's Hotspur urges that "out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety" (Henry IV, part 1, Act II Scene 3). Nettle guide: where to find, how to pick safely and recipe ideas. Since it does well in fertile but disturbed settings it is classed as a ruderal plant common to rural areas.
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