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Uritica dioica (Urticaceae)

Habitat and appearance: Native to Europe and Asia, and common throughout Britain since Roman days. A perennial, 90cm-2m tall, it has a creeping and fast-multiplying root system. Its leaves are heart-shaped, finely-toothed, on sparsely branched, bristly stems. It has green flowers, forming clusters in long, drooping racemes. Male and female flowers appear on different plants relying on wind fertilisation; they appear between June and September. The whole plant is covered with the familiar stinging hairs.

Garden suitability: This is probably a plant which does not need to be encouraged, however it is always useful if you have the space, to allow a patch of nettles somewhere, for spring cutting and for the general ecosystem balance in the garden!

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