Stinging Nettle

Genus Urtica
Nettle Family (Urticaceae)

Stinging Nettle
(Urtica dioica)

Often grows in large patches along ditchbanks and other moist places. The plant is armed with stinging hairs on the leaves and stems. Each hair contains a droplet of formic acid, which causes a painful burning sensation on contact with the skin. However, the plant is edible when cooked. It is rich in vitamins A and C.

The stinging nettle plant grows 3 or 4 feet tall. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, growing in clusters which hang from the leaf axils. They are light greenish in color.

Stinging Nettle -- about 3 feet tall

Big Cottonwood Canyon
Wasatch Mountains
Salt Lake County, Utah


by Sandra Bray