Stinging Nettles are a familiar plant to many of us, often firmly rooted in our memories after our first ‘hands-on’ experience – a prickling irritation that’s not forgotten easily! A very common plant, it can be found growing in gardens, hedgerows, fields, woods and many other habitats. Its preference for damp, fertile and disturbed ground makes it a good coloniser of places enriched by human activities such as agriculture and development. Stinging Nettles are great wildlife attractors: caterpillars of the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock Butterflies use them as foodplants; ladybirds feast on the aphids that shelter among them; and seed-eating birds enjoy their autumn spoils.
How to identify?
To avoid the painful way to identify a Stinging Nettle, look for the hairs on its stem, its drooping, catkin flowers and oval, toothed leaves.