He is a herbaceous plant with a big variaty in height : it varies between 30 cm and 150 cm. He likes the nitrogen-rich soils, but he is very widespread. Stems and leaves are covered with stinging hairs. The stems are rectangular. The leaves are borne oppositely, the leaf margin is serrated, their shape is very diverse: they vary from rhomboid to oblanceolate, also some other shapes. The green flowers appear in dense axillary, catkin-like inflorescences, that hang down or stand upwards, depending on the sex of the plant.
Confusion with other plants
In many cases, the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) may be confused before flowering with different dead nettle species such as the white nettle. We can clearly distinguish the two species on the basis of the stinging hairs : the dead nettle species do not have stinging hairs. Both species are edible with similar uses. However, it is important to distinguish these species from a medicinal point of view.
- Common nettle