Saturday, November 13, 2010

Getting small- in fine nettles

We had dirt hauled on to the property once and now we have nettles forever.
It has been raining this year a little more that usual, and all of these beautiful green seedlings started sprouting all over the yard.
There are a few pieces  of grass, very few but mostly this is...

Oh No! even these tiny little beauties will sting if you walk bare foot on them. They are so beautiful though.

Like this cushion-y layer of soft plants that you could lie in and soak up the sun.

I waited for them to get larger because we have another volunteer plant that grows here that doesn't sting. I thought they might be nettles, but I wanted to wait to be sure.

Yep, there are the infamous hairs of pain.
Nettle is the common name for between 30-45 species of flowering plants of the genus Urtica in the family Urticaceae, with a cosmopolitan though mainly temperate distribution.
Thank you Wiki!


Be careful now, this stuff bites.

The Latin name Urtica means "burning" and "uro" means " I burn".  The sting of nettles contains the chemicals Histamine, which irritates the skin, Acetylcholine that causes a burning sensation and Serotonin, which causes the other two chemicals to react. This is the main side effect from using nettles. The leaf of the Dock Rumex is traditionally used to reduce the pain of the nettle sting and are normally found growing in the vicinity of nettles.

There is lots of Folklore about nettles. In Norse mythology Thor the god of thunder is often represented by nettles and burning them on the fire will protect you from his lightening during thunderstorms. Also in Norse mythology Loki, the trickster god, spun fishing nets out of nettles. Actually a very good string can be made out of nettles and nettle string had many uses in the ancient world.                                                        From the School of Natural Health Sciences  Check this web page out...very interesting.

Nettles contain vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (panothenic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E. chlorophyll, potassium, calcium, mangaan, acetycholine, serotonine, sulphur, iron, selenium, magnesium, chromium and zinc.

Culinary uses: Care has to be taken in collecting nettles to avoid it's irritating sting and the wearing of stout gloves is highly recommended. However, the leaves are high in nutrients and also very tasty, making it worth the trouble, whilst cooking them destroys the stinging effect and makes them perfectly safe to eat.
From Vortex Health where they sell nettles in capsules. Seems like the best idea to me!
Photo credit here goes to Wikimedia commons and the ever wonderful
OH, oh, oh, now I know why those things hurt so bad.

"out of this nettle, danger, we grasp this flower, safety." -Shakespeare

You can also read another getting small post here.


  1. Wow, I have used nettles tea on occasion as prescribed by an herbalist but I had no idea about the plant itself....yoweeee. Very interesting. No thanks, I don't think I want you to save me a cutting.....
    The Olde Bagg

  2. I just have Creeping Charlie (lots!)---no idea what the Latin name is; I would call it PITA Plant. It has overtaken even my CRABGRASS! And it stinks when you mow it---must be somewhere in the mint family.....
    Not sure which of us has the short end of the stick..... ;D


  3. Great batch of photos, plus I know more about nettles than ever before, thanks to you. Sorry they are growing in such abundance on your lawn. Especially with little Madi probably wanting to walk about. You may have to resort to some Roundup. I hate the stuff but it sure does the job. You can't eat that many! They are tasty though.

  4. Such gorgeous pictures but that last one - wow!

    My middle daughter fell over in a patch once and oh how she puffed up in white blisters - it was awful.

  5. Ouch! Those first showed up in my yard a couple of years ago and I found out the hard way not to pull them out with bare hands. Can't believe you have a field of them. Justine

  6. Thank you for sharing. I hadn't known half of this stuff.

    When I was younger I got into stinging nettle because I was touching all the plants along the side of a hiking trail. Not a good idea! The nettle hurt like heck and I got bumps on my hand.

  7. Such beauty - but with a little sting! Great photographs and lots of wonderful information. Thanks, Marie! Theresa

  8. Ouch ouch ouch! Aw man. I was hoping this was a patch of mint. You have to wonder about the first guy who said, "These stinging, burning leaves might taste good."

  9. Now I want some nettle tea lol. It's been years.

  10. Marie, yo tengo malos recuerdos de las ortigas.
    Empece a conocerlas el dia que me cai encima de ellas jejejeje
    Estuve dos dias rascandome, me puse inflada jejejeje
    Son unas plantas muy bonitas, pero donde te tocan...............
    Feliz domingo
    besitos ascension

  11. Interesting. I have always heard of stinging nettles, but had no idea what they were. Thanks for the info.

  12. Look at those darn hypodermic needles on the leaves! Dang!!! I gues,, no rolling on the ground for you! Didn't you have witches' hair too?

  13. Marie, you are and encyclopedia of information! We get goat heads here. They hurt. Yours look pretty though.
    **kisskiss** Deb

  14. You would never see the end of it Linda if I saved you a cutting.
    Gave me quite a chuckle there just thinking about it though.
    The stuff is like the thing that wouldn't leave.
    Never goes away.
    It was good for me to read about it though and see how many useful things that could be done with it.
    A new bi-polar thing in my world!

  15. Lawn is not the name I would use Jan. LOL!! I would cal it a playground for gophers.
    I used to be in to herbs and I still never tried nettles.
    I am going to have to though, I think!!
    They are really good for you!

  16. Oh the poor girl!!
    What did you do to get it to go away Carmen?

  17. Do yours keep coming back Justine?
    I found if I let one plant go to seed I will have millions the next year.

  18. I am so sorry Sarita. It does hurt bunches when you touch it.
    I can usually recognize it, but one time I was in the North-west and the leaves were so big it looked like a different plant.

  19. I have to wondeer about that guy too, Bella.
    Must have been starving and nothing else to eat!

  20. Is it good Pallas? I have never tried, afraid of the little swords.

  21. @Marie: Between the drying, boiling, and straining, anything that might irritate you is thoroughly destroyed =)

    It's... interesting. One of those things you either like or you don't. If you like teas in general I'd reccomend giving it a try just for the hell of it.

  22. Parece que la mayoría de nosotros tiene malos recuerdos de la ortiga, Ascensión.
    Pueden ser muy bueno para nosotros sin embargo.
    Tiene un gran día.
    Amor y abrazos,
    I used google translate

  23. Those needles look pretty lethal don't they Ces?
    I had no idea until I saw the close up, whoa!!
    I do know for a fact that they hurt pretty good when you stick your hand in them.
    No, no rolling in the grass, besides there is no grass, only a few sprigs.

  24. No witch's hair either, I would have to move then. Both of these things are so invasive!

  25. We have the goat heads here too! But I haven't steped on one for a long long time. I always wear something on my feet around here now.
    Deb, those things are horrible, such a little sticker and so much pain oh, oh, oh!!

  26. I like tea Pallas, I will probably like this.
    Heard they are good to eat too!
    Note to self: wear gloves when picking!


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