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The Field, Penpol, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0NG, England
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Click on an underlined word for an explanation of the field. Or Jump straight to the description of all the fields. Or look at the lists of Edible, Medicinal or Other uses and the list of native Ranges.

Urtica dioica

Common name: Stinging nettle Family: Urticaceae
Author: L. Botanical references: 17, 200
Known Hazards: The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs...
Range: Britain.
Habitat: Waste ground, hedgerows, woods etc, preferring a rich soil and avoiding acid soils[4, 9].

Habit: Perennial Decid/Ever:   Rating: 5
Height: 1.2 Width:   Hardyness:   Growth rate: F
In leaf:   Flowering time: 5 - 10 Seed ripens: 6 - 10 Scented: 0
Flower Type: D Self-fertile: N Pollinators: Wind
Soil: LMH Well-drained: 0 Heavy clay: 0 Poor Soil: 0
pH: ANB Acid: 0 Alkaline: 0 Saline: 0
Shade: SN Moisture: M Wind: W Drought: 0
Nitrogen fixer: 0 Wildlife: 1 Pollution: 1 Frost Tender: 1

Edible Uses

Young leaves - cooked as a potherb and added to soups etc[1, 2, 9, 12, 13, 36, 183].....

Medicinal Uses

Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy....

Other Uses

A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems[200].....

Cultivation details

Prefers a soil rich in phosphates and nitrogen....


Seed - sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed.....

The following are only included for some plants.


Leaves (Fresh weight)
Protein: 1.40 Fat: 0.30 Carbohydrate: 4.60 Ash: 0.80


'Red Welsh' 'Early Red' 'Ciboule Commune Rouge'
An old form of the perennial bunching onion...


Flowers: Fresh
The flowers have a spicy apricot-like fragrance

Fields used in the Species Database

Latin name.
The botanical name of the plant. This is an indexed field and is the primary key.
Common name.
One common name (where available) for the plant. It does not list the wide range of common names that many plants have.
The family that the plant belongs to. An indexed field.
The person(s) who named the plant.
Botanical references
A bibliography of the most relevant books (usually a flora) that contain a botanical description of the plant.
Other botanical names the plant has been known by. Sometimes there is disagreement amongst the botanists as to which is the correct name to use. Search's for Latin names will also check the synonyms.
Known hazards.
Any records we have of toxicity or other harmful aspects of the plant.
The regions of the world where the plant grows wild. One limit to this field (22/01/93) is that if the plant is native to Britain I haven't put down the other areas in which it grows. This will be changed as time permits. There is also a table listing the continents the plant grows. In the web version a table has been created listing general areas where the plant grows, this has been done by just searching for particular strings in this field, you can see the possible areas here.
A description of the habitat where the plant grows wild.
Type of plant. (Annual, perennial, tree etc). An indexed field.
Whether the plant is deciduous or evergreen. This applies mainly to trees and shrubs but is also used when we know that any other type of plant is evergreen. D = deciduous, E = evergreen.
A value from 1 to 5. 1 denotes plants of very minor uses, 2 means reasonably useful plants, 3 covers the range of plants that could be grown as standard crops, 4 is for very useful plants whilst 5 denotes those of great value. A very subjective evaluation.
How tall the plant is expected to grow in Britain, in meters.
How wide the plant is expected to grow, in meters. This field is rather lacking in information.
How hardy is it on a scale from 1 - 10. One will survive arctic winters, ten is tropical. Cornwall is about eight, but can grow some plants from zone nine. Most of Britain is zone seven, going down to zone six in the north and four in the mountains. An indexed field.
Growth rate.
How fast the plant can grow. F = fast, M = medium, S = slow. This applies mainly to trees and shrubs but a lot of entries are blank because we just do not have the information.
In leaf
Months of the year that the plant is in leaf. 1 = January, 12 = December.
Flowering time.
What time of the year does the plant flower? Recorded in months, 1 = January, 12 = December.
Seed ripe.
What time of the year does the plant produce ripe seed?. Recorded in months, 1 = January, 12 = December.
Is the plant know for its scent.
Flower type.
H = hermaphrodite (the flower has both male and female organs). M = monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant). D = dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)
Can one plant growing on its own produce fertile seed without being pollinated by any other plants? Y = Yes, N = No, a blank entry denotes that we do not know.
How is the plant fertilized? Can be either insects, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies), Bats, wind, water, Hand, Self, Apomictic (reproduce by seeds formed without sexual fusion), or Cleistogamous (self-pollinating without flowers ever opening).
Type of soil the plant prefers. L = light (sandy), M = medium (loam), H = heavy (clay). An entry here does not specifically mean that a plant will tolerate the extremes of very heavy or very sandy soils, for further details on this refer to the next two fields. An indexed field.
Does the plant require a well-drained soil? Many plants cannot tolerate soils if the water does not drain away fairly quickly. A well-drained soil is usually light or medium, but this is not always the case and some light soils are very poorly drained.
Heavy clay.
Can the plant grow in heavy clay soils?
Poor soil.
Can the plant grow in nutritionally poor soils?
Type of soil the plant prefers. A = acid, N = neutral, B = basic (alkaline). An entry here does not necessarily mean that a plant can tolerate the extremes of acidity or alkalinity. For further information, use the next two fields. An indexed field.
Can the plant grow in very acid soils?
Can the plant grow in very alkaline soils?
Can the plant grow in saline soils.
How much shade does the plant need? F = full shade (deep woodland, a north-facing wall etc), S = semi-shade (light woodland, a position that is shaded for part of the day etc), N = no shade.
What sort of moisture levels does the plant require? D = dry, M = moist (this is the average soil type and does not mean a wet soil), We = wet (or boggy), Wa = water (grows in ponds etc).
How wind resistant is the plant? M = tolerates maritime exposure, W = tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure, N = not wind tolerant. A blank entry denotes that we have no information. Information is somewhat lacking and what we have is mainly related to trees and shrubs.
Can an established plant tolerate drought ?
Nitrogen fixer
Does the plant fix nitrogen from the atmosphere?
Is the plant noted for providing food etc for our native wildlife?
Can the plant tolerate atmospheric pollution? (i.e. can it grow in a large town or city, or by a main road?). Y = Yes, N = No, a blank entry denotes that we don't know. This question is almost exclusively for trees and shrubs since these in general have much more difficulty coping with atmospheric pollution.
Frost Tender
Is the plant frost tender?

Fields with longer textual descriptions

Cultivation details.
Details on the plant, how to grow it and other relevant information.
Edible uses.
Details on the edible uses of the plant. See also the list of Edible uses.
Medicinal uses
Details of all the medicinal properties of the plants. We are not experts on the medicinal uses of plants and much of the information has been taken from other sources. You should talk to someone who knows what they are on about before using any of these plants. See also the list of Medicinal uses.
Other uses.
Details on the non-edible uses of the plant. See also the list of Other uses.
Details on how to propagate the plant.

Other tables

The nutritional composition of the plant (where available).
Details on cultivars of the plant.
Details of scented plants.
A table listing the possible habitats a plant lives in. Including: Woodland Garden, Canopy, Secondary, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge, Deep Shade, Cultivated Beds, Ground Cover, Lawn, Meadow, Hedge, Hedgerow, Pond, Bog Garden, Walls, East Wall, South Wall, West Wall, North Wall.

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Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future - Species Database.
Copyright (c) 1997-2000. Last Update: Feb 2000.
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