Nettle Seeds, Urtica dioica
Purveyor of painful, itchy stings and bumpy red rashes, most children are all too familair with the humble stinging nettle, and have been avoiding them for years! Growing absolutely everywhere, from yards and gardens to fields and woods, the stinging nettle is an amazing superfood with unlimited uses in the kitchen, from soups and mains, and desserts and syrups, to teas and other beverages. Nettles have male and female flowers, but only the female flowers produce seeds, which are triangular in shape and hang down from stems between the leaves. The seeds are packed with nutrients and can be harvested and used in cooking to add flavour, be mixed raw into smoothies, yogurt and porridge, or used as a garnish to add a pleasant crunch.
Nettle Seed Checklist
🌳 Deciduous Woodland.
🌲 Coniferous Woodland.
🐑 Grassland, including paddocks, fields and meadows.
🌊 Waterways, including rivers, lakes and streams.
🏡 Urban Green Spaces, including scrubland, parks and gardens.
🏢 Urban Environments, wasteland, Streets and pavements.
🚜 Hedgerows, including field edges.
🐝 Moorland, including heaths and grouse moors.
🌸🍂 Nettle seeds appear in profusion at the end of May and again in October.
☘️ Arrow shaped, green leaves with heavily serrated edges, which grow in pairs on opposite sides of the stem. The underside of each leave is covered in small stinging hairs, although a few do grow on the top-side, too.
🌷 Nettles are "dioecious", which means plants can either be male or female. Both sexes of plant produce flowers, but they look slightly different.
🚹 Male flowers are tiny and round, and vary in colour from green to yellow or purple. They don’t generally droop downwards like female flowers.
🚺 Female flowers are similar but paler, with many spiked stigmas that makes them look like they are covered with fost. They also usually droop downwards quite significantly.
🌱 Nettle stems are tough and very fibrous (stringy), and covered in small stinging hairs. The stems are erect and green to red or purple in colour.
Fruit / Seeds
🍏 Only female Nettles produce seeds. These are green and triangular in shape and droop down from the stems between the leaves.
🍏 Fruit / Seeds
Aroma / Taste
👃 Indistincy Aroma.
👅 The seeds taste mild and have a pleasant crunchy texture.
🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 Nettles are one of the most commonly recognised plants. The toothed leaves and hanging flowers and seeds are key identifiers.
🤚 As every child knows, nettles sting! The red, bumby rash is unfortunately, a key identifier of a nettle!
⛔️ Although nettle stings are generally quite harmless (in fact, some say they are therapeutic!), stings can be painful, especially for young children.
✅ To avoid stings, wear a thin pair of gardening gloves. Cooking nettles neutralises their stings so they are safe to eat.
🥗 Salad - Nettle seeds can be eaten raw in salads.
🌺 Garnish - Nettle seeds can be used as a garnish.
🌿 Herb - Nettle seeds can be used to add flavour.
💊 Herbal Remedy - Is often used medicinally.