STINGING NETTLE, Urtica
dioica L. 1, lower part of plant; 2, upper part of
plant with flowers; 3, section of stem with hairs; 4, seed.
Perennial, reproducing by seeds and underground rootstocks. Stems
2 to 7 feet (0.6 to 2 m) tall, slightly branched near the top, slender,
rigid, covered with numerous stinging hairs. Leaves dark green,
coarse, opposite, 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) long, pointed with saw-toothed
margins, sometimes rounded at base, covered with stinging hairs. Flowers
are greenish without petals and produced in clusters in the leaf axiIs.
Male and female flowers borne separately but on the same plant. Seed
pod 1-seeded. Seeds small, eggshaped, slightly rough, yellow
to grayish-tan. Found in barnyards, fence rows, thickets, waste
places, and roadsides; generally in damp rich soil. When this plant comes
in contact with the skin it causes welts or inflammation.