European Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, Closeup

Closeup of top leaves and flowers of stinging nettle, with opposite serrated leaves, clusters of tiny flowers, entire plant covered in stiff hairsView Full Resolution

This photo shows the European variety of stinging nettle, Urtica dioica. This same species is also found in Eastern North America but the locally-native variety is easily distinguishable by two features: (1) it lacks the heart-shaped base of each leaf, clearly visible in the picture here (2) the stinging hairs are only found on the underside of each leaf, not on the top too as they are in the European variety.

Although they can produce painful stings, they are edible when cooked, and can be eaten as a vegetable or steeped in water to make an excellent herbal tea.

The European variety has widely established itself in North America, and by removing (and possibly consuming) it, you can help shift the balance back towards the native variety.

This image is featured in our article on Invasive Herbs for Herbal Tea.

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Alex Zorach

RateTea Editor

Joined Sep. 1st, 2009.

Photographer Credit

© (Assumed) Migas (Wikimedia Commons)

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CC BY 3.0