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Toxic parts

The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin[1][2]. This action is neutralized by heat so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious[2]. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys[3].

Edible uses


Young leaves - cooked and used as a potherb[4][5][6][7][8][9]. A very nutritious food, high in vitamins and minerals, it makes an excellent spinach substitute and can also be added to soups and stews. Only use the young leaves and wear stout gloves when harvesting them to prevent getting stung. Although the fresh leaves have stinging hairs, thoroughly drying or cooking them destroys these hairs. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoots[2].

Unknown part


Material uses

A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems[2]. Used for string and cloth[4][10][11][12][13], it also makes a good quality paper[14]. It is harvested as the plant begins to die down in early autumn[15].

An essential ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator[16], the leaves are also an excellent addition to the compost heap[6][17][18] and they can be soaked for 7 - 21 days in water to make a very nutritious liquid feed for plants[19]. This liquid feed is both insect repellent and a good foliar feed[20][17][21]. The growing plant increases the essential oil content of other nearby plants, thus making them more resistant to insect pests[17][18][19]. A hair wash is made from the infused leaves and this is used as a tonic and antidandruff treatment[3]. A green dye is obtained from the leaves and stems[10][14][22]. A yellow dye is obtained from the root[14][22].

An oil extracted from the seeds is used as an illuminant in lamps[22].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a tonic and blood purifier. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic[10][5][1][13][23][24]. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding[10], it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema[24]. Externally, the plant is used to treat arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc[24]. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use[10][24].

This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments[25]. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns[10].

A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant, gathered when in flower[22]. A useful first-aid remedy, it is used in the treatment of ailments such as bites and stings, burns, hives and breast feeding problems[22].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in a cold frame.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Urtica urens. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a nitrogen-rich soil[2]. The best fibre is produced when plants are grown on deep fertile soils[2]. Dislikes shade[26].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Urtica urens. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Urtica urens.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Urtica urens
Imported References
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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    "image:GailiojiDilgele001.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:GailiojiDilgele001.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    1. ? Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    2. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    3. ? Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
    4. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    5. ? Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    6. ? Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
    7. ? 7.07.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    10. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (1979-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    13. ? The Herb Society Herbal Review. Vol.11. 3. The Herb Society ISBN 0264-9853 (1986-00-00)
    14. ? Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
    15. ? 15.015.1 Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Bruce. M. E. Commonsense Compost Making. Faber ISBN 0-571-09990-4 (1977-00-00)
    17. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    18. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    19. ? Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.1 De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden. ()
    22. ? Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
    23. ? 23.023.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    24. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    25. ? 25.025.1 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    26. ? 26.026.1 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

    "image:GailiojiDilgele001.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Urtica urens"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyUrticaceae +
    Belongs to genusUrtica +
    Has binomial nameUrtica urens +
    Has common nameAnnual Nettle +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part + and Leaves +
    Has edible useDrink + and Unknown use +
    Has fertility typeSelf sterile + and Wind +
    Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
    Has imageGailiojiDilgele001.JPG +
    Has lifecycle typeAnnual +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useCompost +, Dye +, Fibre +, Hair care +, Liquid feed +, Oil + and Repellent +
    Has mature height0.6 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAntiasthmatic +, Antidandruff +, Astringent +, Depurative +, Diuretic +, Galactogogue +, Haemostatic +, Homeopathy +, Hypoglycaemic + and Tonic +
    Has primary imageGailiojiDilgele001.JPG +
    Has search nameurtica urens + and annual nettle +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameUrtica urens +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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