ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Stinging Nettle Identification

Updated on August 29, 2012
seh1101 profile image

Sean has been in the industry of gardening and landscaping since 2006. He is also a certified arborist that tends to focus on plant health.

Common & Botanical Names

Common Name
Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle

Latin Name
Urtica dioica

Stinging Nettle Locations

Preferred Environments
Barnyards, fence rows, thickets, waste areas, roadsides. Damp, rich soil is preferred.

Mature Nettle Colony

Young Stinging Nettle

Young stinging nettle. Best stage for eradication.
Young stinging nettle. Best stage for eradication. | Source

Identifying Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is covered in tiny hairs, along with hollow hair-like structures called trichomes. The trichomes break off when touched by people or animals. The trichomes then inject a histamine that causes a burning and itching sensation with inflammation. When contacted, DO NOT ITCH EXPOSED AREAS. Itching will spread the histamines rapidly. Burning and itching sensations will dissipate in about 10 minutes, depending on severity of exposure. If prepared correctly, stinging nettles make excellent wild foods that are rich in vitamin A & C. Do not attempt to prepare nettles for eating unless experienced in the field of wild foods.

Stinging nettle is a native herbaceous perennial with widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which result in dense colonies. The green stems can grow from 2 to 7 feet tall with slight branching near the top.

Leaves: The leaves are opposite along the stem and measure from 1 - 6 inches long with serrated edges.

Flowers: The flowers are greenish without petals, and clustered in the leaf axils.

Fruit/Seeds: The seed pod contains a single seed per pod. The seeds are small, egg-shaped, slightly rough, and yellow to grayish-tan in color.

Roots: It has an extensive system of spreading rhizomes that grow new shoots.

Eradicating Stinging Nettle

Mechanical Eradication
The rhizomatic and stoloniferous characteristics make eradication very difficult. Frequent cultivation or tilling will prevent the perennial root system from growing.

Chemical Eradication
Chemical application of herbicides can also eliminate current and future growth. Glyphosate herbicides are systemic and move throughout a plant. This is very effective against the spreading roots of stinging nettle. Always practice safe application of all herbicides to prevent non-target damage. Personal protective equipment must always be worn to protect the skin, eyes and respiratory system from poisoning.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • seh1101 profile image

      Sean Hemmer 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      They are native around my area of Wisconsin. Stinging nettles are beneficial to insects as a source of food and are host plants to some butterflies. They are simply considered "weedy" due to the itching and burning upon contact.

    • lifelovemystery profile image

      Michelle Orelup 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Nasty buggers for sure. I'm guessing from the title that nettles are not a native plants but I don't see the explanation for why they are considered invasive.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)