Clothing from nettles
Ouch! you may be thinking but the nettle has been used to produce a fine fibre that can be spun and woven into cloth.
Cloth has been woven from the fibres in mature nettle stems for many centuries - frequently used for tablecloths and sheets in Scotland. It is, however, difficult to ascertain the extent to which it was used as the term nettlecloth came to be used for all manner of fine material whether made from nettle or not.
Being similar in texture to those materials produced by flax and hemp fibres the cloth also became widely used by the German army during the First World War when there was a shortage of cotton for the soldiers' uniforms. Some of the reports may have been propaganda but is clear that nettle fibre was used alongside that of the nettles' Asian cousin, Ramie ( Boehmeria nivea ).
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. Both colours have been used extensively in Russia.