SMALL NETTLE

Urtica urens

Nettle Family [Urticaceae]  

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov

status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8green
morph
morph8actino
type
typeZcatkins
stem
stem8square
stem
stem8hollow
contact
contactZmedium

4th Aug 2009, Cricket Ground, Rufford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A single plant just over a foot tall.


4th Aug 2009, Cricket Ground, Rufford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are rounder than ordinary Stinging Nettles.


11th May 2012, Mill Bridge, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
And more deeply toothed.


11th May 2012, Mill Bridge, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A small young specimen. Leaves almost round. Teeth coarse.


16th April 2008, Near Maiden Castle, Staffordshire. Photo: © RWD
Rounded leaves of a very small, young plant.


4th Aug 2009, Cricket Ground, Rufford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves have a doubly-toothed look and much rounder than those of Stinging Nettles.


4th Aug 2009, Cricket Ground, Rufford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are greenish yellow, in catkins, and unlike Stinging Nettles, the male and female flowers are on the same plant.


4th Aug 2009, Cricket Ground, Rufford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
  There may be a mixture of both male and female flowers on the same plant.


4th Aug 2009, Cricket Ground, Rufford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves also have stinging trichomes. The extremely thin and hollow needles of silica penetrate the skin on being brushed passed. As the trichome is flexed, the volume of the large cylindrical reservoir at the base is reduced slightly, pushing the poisonous contents up the sharp silica tube and under the skin of any mammal. For details of the poisons contained within see Stinging Nettle. Note the whitish flower, lower right.


11th May 2012, Mill Bridge, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Underside of leaf with prominent ribs.


11th May 2012, Mill Bridge, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Stinging trichomes on leaf ribs and stems.


11th May 2012, Mill Bridge, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The square stalk is 'telescopic' in nature, a new incarnation appearing at every leaf juncture. Leaves in opposite pairs on long stalks with stings.


11th May 2012, Mill Bridge, Torver Common, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
At each leaf junction are two short bracts between the leaf stalks. Main telescopic stems square which may have purplish streaks and marks.


4th Aug 2009, Cricket Ground, Rufford, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Square stems with stinging trichomes.


25th April 2015, Dibbinsdale, Bromborough, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
The stems have a groove in some of the faces. There are many more much shorter non-stinging hairs that there are stinging hairs.


Some similarities to : Stinging Nettle, but that is about twice as tall and has a much hairier appearance. Also its' flower catkins are much longer, but the most important difference is that the male and female flowers on Stinging Nettles are on separate plants, whereas on Small Nettle they are on the same plant. The stems are square on both Nettles. There is another not as obvious difference: the roots of Small Nettle are white, whereas those of Stinging Nettle are a bright yellow/orange.

It occupies waste ground and is a weed of cultivation, especially common in crops of Sugar Beet and is considered an indicator of the need for additional lime. The average number of seeds is 1000 per plant, but a large one may produce up to 40 thousand seeds. Seedlings emerge from March to October, peaking in April and July. Seeds remain viable for up to 100 years.

The stinging trichomes still sting on Small Nettle, but they are less potent.


  Urtica urens  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Urticaceae  

Distribution
family8Nettle family8Urticaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Urtica
Urtica
(Nettles)

SMALL NETTLE

Urtica urens

Nettle Family [Urticaceae]  

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