Nettles
 

  Be Nice to Nettles Week
  a CONE initiative
Nettles
 
“Stingers are a vital part of growing up, giving us one of the most painful early memories of close contact with nature.

It is much later in life that most of us realise just how valuable they are, especially for some of our most beautiful wild creatures.

Without stinging nettles, peacock, small tortoiseshell and red admiral butterflies would have nowhere to lay their eggs, so do please find a space for nettles somewhere in your neighbourhood.”

Professor Chris Baines
Environmentalist and Broadcaster

 

 
 
 

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.

 

 
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Did you know?
The Latin name of the nettle Urtica comes from the word 'uro' which means to burn!
 
 
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