FEN NETTLE

STINGLESS NETTLE

Urtica dioica ssp. galeopsifolia

Nettle Family [Urticaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8green
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
type
typeZcatkins
stem
stem8square
stem
stem8hollow
sex
sexZdioecious

19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
A sub-species of Stinging Nettle but one which is stingless or almost so.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Similar in many ways to Stinging Nettle but with suble differences. Flowers in similar catkins.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Leaves are usually longer and much narrower than those of Stinging Nettle


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Flowers look similar. The clusters of flowers occur at several flowering nodes. In Fen Nettle the lowest flowering node is mostly between the 13th to 22nd from the base of the plant; but in Stinging Nettle the flower clusters usually start much lower, between 7th - 14th node.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
The flowers lack petals, are greenish to pinkish, and have 4 lobes.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Upper surface of leaves largely bereft of hairs. Teeth prominent and coarse.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Several trichomes can be seen on upper surface of leaf in close-up.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Teeth have a fine hair at tip, and much shorter hars on the edge.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Stems mostly covered in fine hairs. Several much longer trichomes can be seen, possibly without irritant monoamines within the enlarged base.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Underside of leaf; fine hairs, especially on raised veins with occasional trichome.


19th Aug 2011, Priesthaggard, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Short hairs and fewer trichomes on undersurface of leaves.


8th Aug 2012, Salthill Quarry, Clitheroe, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A more convincing specimen, this one seemingly lacks trichomes altogether, although whether this is due to them having dropped off by August is not known; the shorter finer hairs are still present. The leaves are opposite throughout, it is just that some of those on the left hand side of the stem have been bent downwards.


8th Aug 2012, Salthill Quarry, Clitheroe, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are proportionally narrower than those of Stinging Nettle


Some similarities to : Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica ssp. dioica) and to Small Nettle (Urtica urens) (see respective entries for differences), but Fen Nettle is much less frequently found.

Grows on fens, especially those around Wickham, Cambridgeshire and also in damp places or riverbanks, but cares not for weedy places.

Un-like both Stinging Nettle and Small Nettle it is mostly without stinging hairs, but is covered in a dense mat of smaller and finer non-stinging hairs.

The only true way of differentiating between Stinging Nettle and Fen Nettle, however, is by a chromosome count using a microscope and other instrumentation: Stinging Nettle is a tetraploid, with 2n-48 to 52, whereas Fen Nettle is a diploid with 2n=26.


  Urtica dioica ssp. galeopsifolia  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Urticaceae  

Distribution
 family8Nettle family8Urticaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Urtica
Urtica
(Nettles)

FEN NETTLE

STINGLESS NETTLE

Urtica dioica ssp. galeopsifolia

Nettle Family [Urticaceae]

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