plants foraging guide Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) 875 Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) 876 Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) 881 Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) 882


Edibility:Edible Good

Eating notes: Sometimes called the most nutritious wild plant. It is mainly the cooked leaves that are eaten. The fine stinging hairs wilt quickly when heated. Nettle-soup is a classic way of preparing nettles, but they can also be eaten as a wilted green, like spinach. It is also possible to collect and eat the dried seeds of nettles, but their small size means that this is only worthwhile as an academic exercise.




Very Common


Probably most people's introduction to plant identification. A childhood 'one to avoid!'

Height: 50 - 120cm

Leaves: Heart-shapes with a sharply toothed edge. Grow in opposite pairs.

Flowers: Small hanging stems of tiny red-tingled flowers growing in rings from above leaf nodes.

Stems: Single, upright and normally unbranched. Angular and hairy.

Other: Usually grow in large clumps.

Look-a-likes: Similar to the various dead nettles. The flowers are the main distinguishing feature (that and the stinging!).