Stinging Nettles

A patch of stinging nettles in the woods.

A patch of stinging nettles.

Cows are not bothered by the clumps of stinging nettle that grow in abundance around the hay fields, along the river and even at the top of the hill. When the plants are immature, the cows graze the tender shoots.

A close up view of the fruiting seeds of stinging nettle.

Closeup view of the fruiting seeds of stinging nettle.

For humans, all we have to do is barely brush the leaves or stems of this plant and will get stuck with microscopic barbs coated with a irritant. Although naturalists use tender nettles for medical uses including restful sleep and irritability.

The welts left by a ‘sting’ can imitate a mosquito bite. Stinging nettles have a nickname, ‘7 minute itch’ and it is true. If one can avoid scratching the sting for 5-10 minutes, the welt and itch disappear, but one scratch either by the human or in passing through thick brush, the welt can stay for several days.

Any moist area with good soil becomes prime growing area for the weed. Farmers Almanac advice states that where the nettle grows, tomatoes should be planted for the conditions for both mirror each other. I’m not going to be planting tomatoes up on the hill, I guess that the nettles will grow unabated in their own habitat.

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