Wild Harris

Nettles

Nettle 1 LCampbell.jpgNettle    (Photo: Laurie Campbell)

Nettles aren’t everyone’s favourite plant, but they used to be very important for making fabric and for use in soup and tea. The leaves contain a lot of iron, so they are very good for you. Except you might not think they are good for you when you get stung by one!


The pollen of nettles is spread by the wind – so they don’t need brightly coloured flowers to attract insects.

Butterflies and moths are attracted to lay their eggs on nettles, as their caterpillars adore eating the leaves.

Nettle 2 LCampbell.jpgNettle    (Photo: Laurie Campbell)

The sting is caused by the tiny hairs breaking off when touched, and squeezing acid into the skin. Because the sting is acid, you can use things like dock leaves to help cure the sting as they cancel out the acid.

Nettles stings were believed to protect against sorcery and the plants themselves were used to prevent milk from being soured by witches.

by Alison Tyler