The WALA Plant Library
Small nettle

Synonyms for Small nettle: Nettle, annual nettle, burning nettle
Scientific Name: Urtica urens L.
Family: Urticaceae (stinging nettle plants)


In most cases it is felt first before it is seen. The nettle lives up to its name. Virtually everybody has had first hand experience of the red rash on the skin after coming into contact with the nettle with its stinging hairs. This has not exactly made it popular and it is immediately eradicated from the garden as an uninvited guest. What is generally overlooked in treating it in this way is that there is not just one type of nettle; both the large perennial stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and the small nettle have medicinal uses. The annual small nettle is slighter and more delicate in form but more aggressive in its effect. The leafy plant flowers from May to November with rather inconspicuous small greenish-white flowers, which are arranged in hanging heads and are pollinated by the wind. They prefer a nitrogen-rich soil, indicating this by their thick growth on such soil. They grow rampantly and stubbornly where the gardener does not want them but, on the other hand, are difficult to cultivate.