NETTLE

Nässla hemsida

Nettles

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a species in the urticaceae family. Nettles grow throughout northern Europe, can also be found in Europe, Asia, North Africa and have been introduced in North America. Like other species in the nettle family, the nettle is a herb with small greenish flowers. They are pollinated by the wind by way of the stem quickly straightens itself from its bowed position when the flower matures and pollen is expelled into the air. As with most wind-flowered plants, the plant's fruit is a nut. The stinging nettle’s stinging hairs, trichomes, contain a histamine as a defence against herbivores. Upon soaking, boiling and drying, the toxins disappear and the nettle becomes edible. The plant’s tender shoots can be picked in the spring to be made into nettle soup. The leaves have a cucumber and spinach flavour after being boiled and are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, manganese and calcium.