Bill Johnson

European Stinging Nettle

Urtica dioica L.
Nettle Family (Urticaceae)

Origin: Europe

Distribution and Habitat
Also called great nettle, European stinging nettle occurs in Coastal Plain, Piedmont and Mountain provinces in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, from Delaware to Florida. It inhabits damp, rich, disturbed areas, primarily in calcareous soils, in floodplains and moist open forests, and can tolerate dry soils and some shade.

Ecological Threat
This plant can become well established in floodplain areas and push out native plants, impacting spring ephemeral species as well as those that emerge later in spring and through the summer.

Description and Biology

Prevention and Control
Due to its popularity in some circles as an edible plant, it may be purchased and cultivated. If grown, ensure that it does not spread beyond the planted site by removing flowers and fruits and killing back if it does begin to beyond the intended area. Manual, mechanical and chemical methods are available and effective (see Control Options).


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Last updated:11-Nov-2010