|STINGING NETTLE LEAVES AND FLOWERS|
|STINGING NETTLE PLANT|
Sunday, 8:30 AM. 66 degrees F at the ferry dock, 64 on the back porch. Wind SW, light with occasional stronger gusts. The humidity is 88%, the barometer at 29.90". The forecast calls for mostly clear to partly cloudy skies with highs around 70 for the coming week, with no rain until next weekend. Perfect summer weather.
Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, in the Nettle Family (Urticaceae) is a common roadside and waste place weed that is surprisingly irritating if one comes in contact with it. Tiny stiff, stinging hairs cover the plant and can hardly be avoided. It is a Northern European and Asiatic plant but has become distributed almost worldwide. The plant pictured is small, but nettles can become very large and can be a challenge if encountered..
The needle-like hairs of stinging nettles are extremely irritating when touched, but the nettle plant has a lot of beneficial characteristics. It is a very nourishing early spring herb, before the stinging hairs develop fully, and if soaked in water can be made into a cooked dish or soup, even added to bread and beer (better get the recipes before trying) and there are a lot of traditional medicinal uses for the herb, including as a diuretic.
There are many idiomatic references to nettles in many languages, and it has been mentioned in Shakespear's Henry IV and in Aesop's Fables.
Anyway, if you get "nettled," look for the "touch me not" plant that may be nearby, and hopefully get some relief.
If that doesn't work, try some Calamine lotion.