Not so nasty nettles

Most people consider nettles to be a complete nuisance and remember them for one thing and one thing only – their vicious sting!

However nettles (or stinging nettles) have many hidden qualities. Did you know?

  • They are one of the most mineral and vitamin rich weeds and, when cooked, lose their sting.

  • The undersides of nettle leaves are a favoured spot for ladybirds to lay their eggs in spring. Ladybird larvae, as per the picture below, are voracious feeders and like nothing better than eating aphids. Adult ladybirds overwinter somewhere sheltered (sometimes inside buildings) and providing a bug box will help them survive the worst of the weather.

  • The fibres from the woody stems can be used to make cloth, paper and rope.

  • You can extract dyes from nettles and they were used, as late as the Second World War, to make camouflage materials.
Links to interesting nettle articles: National Be Nice to Nettles Week (14-25 May), Risotto of Nettles and Wild Herbs, 101 Uses for Stinging Nettles

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