Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica
Urticaceae or Nettle Family


Caution:  Stings!  Although irritating, the sting is rarely dangerous.

Variable. From 1 to 9 feet tall. Stem with few to many stinging hairs that can inject an irritating poison (formic acid). Leaves narrow oval to heart shaped, coarsely toothed, opposite each other. Tiny white to greenish flowers with 4 petals in large frothy. Blooms in summer.

Although the species is native, the Eurasian variety of the species has also been introduced. Likes thickets and waste places. In Wildwood, occasional alomg the Riverway bike path.

Clearweed is a woodland, nonstinging nettle. Wood nettle also prefers the woods, but it does sting and has leaves not opposite. False nettle has more orderly, cylindrical flower spikes with leaves on the end; it does not sting. Taller plants with narrower leaves and fewer stinging hairs used to be considered a separate, native, species, tall nettle (U. procera).



Stinging Hairs