Stinging nettle

September 9, 2015

Urtica dioica L.

Life cycle

Erect, rhizomatous perennial.

stinging nettle leaf
Stinging nettle seedling.

Leaves

Opposite, egg- to lance-shaped with a rounded base and pointed tip. Petiolated leaves have coarsely toothed margins, smooth surfaces to a few hairs beneath and long, stinging hairs on the lower surface. Contact with stinging hairs can cause a skin irritation.

stinging nettle leaf
Stinging nettle leaf.

Stems

Four-angled, herbaceous stems are usually erect and unbranched, up to 6 feet tall and covered with stinging hairs. Contact with stinging hairs can cause a skin irritation.

stinging nettle stem stinging nettle hair close-up
Stinging nettle stem (left). Close-up of stinging hairs on stem of stinging nettle (right).

Flowers and fruit

Inconspicuous, green to yellow flowers are formed in clusters in the upper leaf axils. The seed is enclosed in a single-seeded, tan, egg-shaped fruit.

stinging nettle foliage & flowers
Stinging nettle foliage and flower clusters.

Reproduction

Seeds and rhizomes that form extensive colonies.

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Related Topic Areas

Integrated Pest Management

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