U is for Urtica

This is my post for the letter U in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge.  My theme is plants.

Stinging nettles (Urtica)
Stinging nettles (Urtica)

“U is for what?”  I hear you say.  “That’s a photo of a stinging nettle.”

It is indeed.  The Latin name for stinging nettle is urtica and the medical name for nettle rash is urticaria.  Nettles are very important for butterflies.  I have read that all the coloured British butterflies lay their eggs on nettles and that is what the caterpillars need to eat.

Nettles sting if you brush against them.  The hairs on the leaves transfer an irritant to your skin.  If you pinch a nettle leaf between your finger and thumb, you are unlikely to be stung as the hairs are flattened.  This is the derivation of the expression, “Grasp the nettle”.

The nettles in the photo were in a field not far from the Hawthorn.  There are also dead nettles, which have coloured (red or white) flowers and do not sting.  Woundwort also looks similar.

Postal deliveries has some interesting information about nettles.

There are very short posts on Sue’s Trifles for the A to Z in April Challenge.

4 thoughts on “U is for Urtica

  1. I’ll never forget walking in the Lake District with a group that included a friend who’d recently arrived from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). We were having difficulty climbing a path. She said, “Just hold onto these,” and she did. She soon regretted it. I wonder where nettles grow. Obviously not in Sri Lanka. Not here in Israel either.

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  2. Oh they… A hardly avoided a collision with them when running the last time… I hadn’t expecting them to have grown already. But they grew so fast over the last days… 😉

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