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Help me properly ID stinging nettle - Help a brother out?

 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Hey all,

I hope that the future, botany savvy me will (soon) look back on this as an amazing thing...the fact that I needed help ID'ing this plant, that is. I have read a bunch of stuff, and found what *could* be nettle in my yard, but I am not sure.

I finally got tired of not knowing, and rubbed it on my arm, but I couldn't get it to sting me. I don't think I was born immune or anything, as I remember a few times, as a kid, where I must have been stung by it. ( I just called it the "awww crap" plant back then )

Anyway, I saw some hairs on some of them, but, like I said, no sting. Could it still be stinging nettle? Its in a shady area, the soil is really fertile (its a bit down slope of a slowly eroding compost pile), and it stays pretty wet there, relative to the surroundings, anyway. Its been drought-y as of late.... No flowers to identify on anything that I saw today.

I will go out and video and or take pics of the ones I think might be them on the morrow, if that will help.

I am getting phantom itches, hoping it IS nettle...thats a first ....hoping to be itchy. but I touched a few plants, and this isnt where I rubbed the stuff...hmmmm...



 
Victor Bonjour
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Location: Switzerland (equivalent zone 6b-ish), 750m (2500ft) elevation.
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Could it be a stingless nettle?

I've never seen one though, all of my nettles sting from the day they get out of the ground.
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Victor Bonjour wrote:Could it be a stingless nettle?

I've never seen one though, all of my nettles sting from the day they get out of the ground.


Thanks for replying! Hmmm...maybe. they sure do look like that pic. I am driving by a resivour a little later today, I think I am gonna brave the stings out there and see if I can't get myself stung....after i look for jewelweed nearby, of course.
 
Ken Grunke
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Our stinging nettle looks just like the stingless nettle in the pics. Also, there's a few methods of relief from nettle stings although it's commonly said that arthritis benefits from them. Dock leaves are used the same way as jewelweed, and some folks say that urine provides relief. An alternative to peeing on yourself would be a water & baking soda paste.
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Ken Grunke wrote: An alternative to peeing on yourself would be a water & baking soda paste.


Thhanks, Ken.

but, who says I WANT an alternative to peeing on myself?

I keeeed I keeeed....

I feel like this should be a lot easier. I stopped at 6 different river areas today, and couldnt find anything that stung me. I do notice now, though, that I am looking at all plants differently, so I think this is how learning is for me. At first, its so slow, its easy to get discouraged, but then eventually, an awareness has been built.

I found more things that otherwise fit the description today (7 veins in leaf, about the right size, growing in shade, little hairlike things on all parts of plant except tops of leaves in some cases, squarish stems.., but none of them gave me any skin irritation at all. I know I have an immune/autoimmune thing going on right now...could I be not feeling pain/itch because my body needs the stings?

 
Rick Roman
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I, too, have been trying to identify different species of nettle ( and there are many, many species). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettle


I couldn't find any stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle on my property, so I started some from seed

purchased from Horizon Herbs located in Oregon. https://www.horizonherbs.com/product.asp?specific=614#





 
Jordan Lowery
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Gary I'm curious to see a photo of what you think is nettle.

You really shouldn't be looking for plants that sting but plants that look like nettle. It should look like the ones in the " stingless nettle" link. It should have little " barbs" on top of the leaf as well as below and on the stem.

Photos will help tremendously.
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Jordan Lowery wrote:Gary I'm curious to see a photo of what you think is nettle.

You really shouldn't be looking for plants that sting but plants that look like nettle. It should look like the ones in the " stingless nettle" link. It should have little " barbs" on top of the leaf as well as below and on the stem.

Photos will help tremendously.


Ok, You got it, and thank you, Jordan. Are the stingless nettles just as good medicinally, as food, and companion planting wise?

Either way, I will take some pics next run out. I have access to a less stellar but probably good enough camera that is not part of my phone...I was a bit concerned about loosing my phone in the drink or muck today on my gallivanting.
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Rick Roman wrote: I, too, have been trying to identify different species of nettle ( and there are many, many species). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettle


I couldn't find any Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle on my property, so I started some from seed

purchased from Horizon Herbs located in Oregon. https://www.horizonherbs.com/product.asp?specific=614#

thanks!

Part of me wants to avoid buying seed because I am being a bit stubbon on this, since I hear its so common, and also because from what I have read, starting it from seed is apparently difficult, so I'd be interested to see how it work(ed) out for you.





 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Victor Bonjour wrote:Could it be a stingless nettle?

I've never seen one though, all of my nettles sting from the day they get out of the ground.


thats a great link, btw. thank you! Also, please forgive my not addressing your comment earlier. I jsut realized how ungrateful that makes me seem.

I was under the assumption that a stingless needle is of less benefit than a stinging one...I still dont know, but thats why I kinda glossed over it before. That, and distractions of the material world....
 
Philip Green
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Not sure where you are. But false nettle is quite common throughout the Eastern US at least (maybe other places as well). Unfortunately it is not nearly as useful as true nettles. http://www.muhlenberg.edu/cultural/graver/collections/wetlandplants/False%20Nettle.htm

My rule of thumb is always if it stings it is a nettle, if it doesn't then it is not as there are quite a few look-alikes (at least in Ohio). The stinging if from a needle actually poking into your skin and it is impossible to be immune to them. The severity of the reaction to the poison it injects may vary, but everyone should feel the needle penetrating the skin if it is a true nettle.
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Philip Green wrote:Not sure where you are.


Waterbury, CT zip 06705, definitely eastern US.

Philip Green wrote:But false nettle is quite common throughout the Eastern US at least (maybe other places as well). Unfortunately it is not nearly as useful as true nettles. http://www.muhlenberg.edu/cultural/graver/collections/wetlandplants/False%20Nettle.htm

My rule of thumb is always if it stings it is a nettle, if it doesn't then it is not as there are quite a few look-alikes (at least in Ohio). The stinging if from a needle actually poking into your skin and it is impossible to be immune to them. The severity of the reaction to the poison it injects may vary, but everyone should feel the needle penetrating the skin if it is a true nettle.


yeah, that was my concern. I may be getting stuck, as the stingers (trichomes?) are relatively small, but no poison itchyness, as I got back in my youth as of yet. So, tyhe false nettles and stingless nettles seem to be different plants (and therefore, different levels of usefulness to humans), though?

I will get some pics and/or videos today and post them

Thanks!
 
Philip Green
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Gary Briane Tuttle wrote:
Philip Green wrote:Not sure where you are.


Waterbury, CT zip 06705, definitely eastern US.

Philip Green wrote:But false nettle is quite common throughout the Eastern US at least (maybe other places as well). Unfortunately it is not nearly as useful as true nettles. http://www.muhlenberg.edu/cultural/graver/collections/wetlandplants/False%20Nettle.htm

My rule of thumb is always if it stings it is a nettle, if it doesn't then it is not as there are quite a few look-alikes (at least in Ohio). The stinging if from a needle actually poking into your skin and it is impossible to be immune to them. The severity of the reaction to the poison it injects may vary, but everyone should feel the needle penetrating the skin if it is a true nettle.


yeah, that was my concern. I may be getting stuck, as the stingers (trichomes?) are relatively small, but no poison itchyness, as I got back in my youth as of yet. So, tyhe false nettles and stingless nettles seem to be different plants (and therefore, different levels of usefulness to humans), though?

I will get some pics and/or videos today and post them

Thanks!


Well false nettle will have long hairs on them, but no stingers. The stingers look pretty distinctive once you get used to seeing them, though you have to be quite close to do so. I imagine that if they were nettles you'd feel the prick of the stinger and a bit of itchiness, it would be hard to be completely immune to their poison as it gets injected under the skin. Though I guess it may not be impossible... You could find a friend to test it on...
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Philip Green wrote:You could find a friend to test it on...


hahaha, or an ememy!

change of plans for me for today, I tweaked the hell of my back this am, so I am gonna have to postpone my trekking for stinging nettles....
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Sorry, all who have replied. My life is crazy right now, and this little project has fallen between the cracks, then fell even further, to a location known as "by the wayside"

Thanks for your input, though.

I will restart my quest at some point down the road.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Gary - I got a good chuckle out of your posts - but I am sorry you tweaked your back and then the stinging nettle project fell by the wayside.

You know - just to inoculate your place, buy a few seeds or see if someone will mail you some. I had never seen a stinging nettle in Phoenix but some opportunistic seeds must have been in a batch of mulch I got dumped at my house and now they are EVERYWHERE starting this time of year. People come to my yard just to harvest nettles (crazy people)! And they do indeed STING (and I am a fellow autoimmune sufferer - so yep - they still sting like hell). It's so opportune that they grow this time of year because it is also when we grow brassica family crops here. It is said that nettles will make brassicas sweeter - and I have found this to be true.

May the sting be with you!
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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Thanks, Jennifer! Im glad you got a chuckle or two.

I may just give that a shot. Its going into winter where I am...although with the weather changing, who knows what that will even mean this year...so if I get seeds, I may keep some inside, and try to inoculate the yard with some. After the last frost, I could put the rest outside, too. That way, if stratification is required or not, I still would have a shot.

Thanks again!
 
dan long
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If nettles are wet, they wont sting. If you grip them firmly, they will not sting. Are you perhaps testing them out after a rain? Maybe you are grabbing htem as opposed to brushing against them (the may most of us get stung)
 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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dan long wrote:If nettles are wet, they wont sting. If you grip them firmly, they will not sting. Are you perhaps testing them out after a rain? Maybe you are grabbing htem as opposed to brushing against them (the may most of us get stung)


Thanks for that info! I didn't know any of that, but it was dry, and I was kind of rubbing the back of my hand against them. It will have to wait until this coming spring, at which time, I am hoping I can use the flowers to hep me identify them .

Thanks for the info though, very useful!
 
John Polk
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I just heard from an in law who was raised on a Tulalip Reservation about a cure for the itch of the stinging nettle.
It works here in the Cascade region, because everywhere you encounter wild nettles, you also find the cure:

Remove the brown spores from under the leaves of the ferns, and rub them on the itchy skin. The sting is soon gone.

 
Gary Briane Tuttle
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John Polk wrote:I just heard from an in law who was raised on a Tulalip Reservation about a cure for the itch of the stinging nettle.
It works here in the Cascade region, because everywhere you encounter wild nettles, you also find the cure:

Remove the brown spores from under the leaves of the ferns, and rub them on the itchy skin. The sting is soon gone.



Thanks, Good info to know, for sure!

Cascade region? are you near Portland, OR, by any chance?
 
John Polk
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No. Currently in the Seattle area.

The local Indians probably had that figured out 5-10,000 years ago.
You get that dumbfounded look like "You didn't know that? I thought everybody knew that."

 
Dan Boone
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dan long wrote:If you grip them firmly, they will not sting.


I recently stumbled across a link where someone attempted several experiments to test whether this was true. His conclusion:

Grasping the nettle can work, but only sometimes. It critically depends on both your technique, and on how stingy the nettles are.
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Dan Boone wrote:
dan long wrote:If you grip them firmly, they will not sting.


I recently stumbled across a link where someone attempted several experiments to test whether this was true. His conclusion:

Grasping the nettle can work, but only sometimes. It critically depends on both your technique, and on how stingy the nettles are.


I also think a great deal of this technique is that the pads and palms are less susceptible to nettle sting than the back of the hand. Maybe because they receive more stimulation and so the poison dissipates quicker, or the itch just gets automatically scratched? Number of times I have whipped out a nettle when weeding with no pain to fingers, and then got swiped across the back of the hand!

I have met Stingless or Fen nettle, which is a perfectly good sub-species of stinging nettle and useful in the same ways, it just mostly doesn't sting. Quite a different thing from Dead Nettle or any other unrelated lookalikes.
 
leanna jones
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It is said that nettles will make brassicas sweeter - and I have found this to be true.


in what way? growing nettles in among brassicas? mulching with them? or what?

 
Dale Hodgins
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Michael Cox
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I have harvested lots of stinging nettles barehanded to make cordage, as well as to eat the very young leaf shoots. The trick to getting them without getting horribly stung is that the stings all point the same direction - away from the stem of the plant pointing towards the leaf tips.

The stingers are quite fragile and brushing over them from base to tip usually snaps them and renders them harmless. You can do a whole plant at once, stripping the leaves and stings from the stem, by grasping at the very bottom of the stem and with a firm grip running your hand from base to tip. You can quickly harvest lots of bare stems.

Even when well practised at this you will still get stung occasionally - it is not fool proof!

Regarding propagating nettles - in my experience in our garden they will shoot from comparatively small root section. If you want nettles in your area I would find a wild patch, cut or mow them down near ground level the take a garden fork and gloves and fill a bucket with root sections to transplant. Just be aware that the roots can also have stings! I have to say I've yet to be convinced about the benefits of stinging nettles in the garden. They are just too antisocial for my gardening habits (I like to work barefoot and gloveless).
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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