Latin Name: Urtica Dioica
Stinging nettle is found on unbranched stalks up to 5 feet tall. Often found in dense areas, it is an important plant to identify as even brushing up against it can cause a rash sensation.
WARNING: Wear thick rubber or gardening gloves when collecting to avoid stings. Immediate rash sensation will last about an hour if stung. Does not sting once cooked or dried.
The leaves are oblong, tapered to a point and have sharp-toothed margins. They are covered with hair-like needles arranged opposite each other on the stalk.
The flowers are inconspicuous, tiny and green found in clusters in the axils.
The young leaves are edible raw, though they will sting in the mouth for a short time. They are best when steamed/cooked. Roots are edible when cooked, and best when collected in spring or autumn. It can also be used in place of hops to give a similar flavour profile to that of an herbal IPA.
Stinging nettle also helps to prevent arthritis and improve kidney function. The greens are high in protein, vitamins A & C, calcium, magnesium and iron.
WHERE TO FIND
Grows in moist soil and disturbed areas in plains, foothills and montane regions.