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

14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
A non-flowering Urtica galeopsifolia (left); and a flowering intermediate between that and Stinging Nettle (right).


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
Closer view of the above left-hand Fen Nettle.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
A sub-species of Stinging Nettle but one which is stingless or almost so.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
The leaves of Fen Nettle are often much narrower in proportion to their length than those of Stinging Nettle.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
The flowers here are not yet fully developed and at the moment looking more like tiny fern leaves. They emerge from leaf-nodes, usually the higher leaf-nodes in comparison to the flowers of Stinging Nettle. Note the lack of trichomes (stinging hairs) from either stems or leaves which is typical of Fen Nettle. The stems hairs are fine and dense.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
Nascent, as yet undeveloped, flowers in the leaf axils here. Leaves with short fine hairs, but none are (or only very few) are trichomes (stinging hairs, which are longer, minutely hollow and tubular at the base). Leaves toothed and wrinkly.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
The short hairs are but 1mm long.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
The mid-leaves. In opposite-pairs which are alternately at right-angles up the (sometimes) square stem.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
Note densely softly-hairy stem almost white with short hairs.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
Look, no trichomes, just dense short hairs.


14th June 2017, Itchen Valley, Highbridge, South Hants. Photo: © Martin Rand
Close-up of short densely-packed hairs. There may be three or four trichomes in sight on this leaf stem (they are the longer more-robust hairs with a stubby point of attachment) - (Fen Nettle is allowed to have just a few).


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, although it is thought it might be found anywhere in the UK.

It prefers damp places such as riverbanks and especially fens, particularly those around Wickham, Cambridgeshire and also in damp places or riverbanks, but unlike Stinging Nettle 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 the two sub-species, 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. But usually, as a rough guide, Stinging Nettle flowers mostly between the 7th and 14th node up from the base of the plant whereas with Fen Nettle the flowers are usually to be found between the 13th and 22nd nodes from the bottom.


  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]

WildFlowerFinder Homepage