10 things about ... nettles

You can also see: 10 things about...ice cream, easter eggs, pigs, turkeys, beavers, nettles, marshmallows, pumpkins.

At least 10 things you might not know (and maybe one or two made-up “facts”)
  1. NettlesNettle leaves and stems are covered in hairs but only some of them actually cause a sting. The tips of these hairs come off when touched and act as a needle, injecting several chemicals including histamine, serotonin and acetylcholine.

  2. The stinging hairs are thought to have developed as a defence against grazing animals. Cows don’t like them and only goats and hungry sheep will touch nettles when the stings are active.

  3. Stinging nettles provide the only food for many species of butterfly larva.

  4. Nettles are sometimes used in shampoos. Manufacturers claim they help to control dandruff and make hair more glossy.

  5. When cooked, nettles lose their sting and have a similar flavour to spinach. They are a good source of vitamin C, iron, and calcium and also provide a surprising amount of protein. They can be eaten raw, although we certainly don’t recommend it, and a World Nettle Eating Championship is held every year at the Bottle Inn, Dorset, England.

  6. Nettles were one of the main ingredients in English beer until the 1800s. Nettle beer, wine, champagne and cordial are all still commercially available.

  7. NettlesNettle tea is made from dried nettle leaves. It will change colour from yellowy-green to pink if you add a slice of lemon.

  8. A “Be Nice To Nettle Week” takes place in the United Kingdom every May to celebrate its important role in the natural world.

  9. In late summer the huge quantity of seed produced provide a food source for many of our seed eating birds.

  10. The juice of the stems and leaves has been used to produce a permanent green dye, while a yellow dye can be obtained from boiling the roots.

  11. Cloth has been woven from the fibres in mature nettle stems for many centuries and has been used for tablecloths and sheets. It was also used for German army uniforms during the First World War when there was a shortage of cotton.

Did you spot the 'untruths'? Let us know which fact you think is false.

Think you can come up with something better?! Get creative and make up one of your own to replace it.

We'll give everyone who enters a "Love Us, Not Eat Us" animal window sticker and put the best online. Write to education@vegsoc.org (don't forget to include your name and address if you would like a window sticker!)


You can also see: 10 things about...ice cream, easter eggs, pigs, turkeys, beavers, nettles, marshmallows, pumpkins.


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