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Urtica dioica
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Urtica dioica


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  • 1. Hoary Nettle – Urtica dioica ssp. holosericea (UR-ti-cuh die-OH-i-cuh hoe-low-ser-EE-see-uh) Family: Urticaceae (Nettle Family) Native to: Much of western Northern America from WA to Mexico; most of CA west of Sierras, also in desert mountains. Streambanks, margins of deciduous woodlands, moist waste places except at highest elevations. Common in understory of reparian woodlands. Growth characteristics: spreading herbaceous perennial mature height:3-6 ft. mature width:3+ ft. Herbaceous perennial that dies back to the ground in the dry season. Foliage gray-green, fuzzy with stinging hairs. Note: handling Hoary Nettle can cause a severe stinging skin reaction that can last for hours or even days. Plant spreads via rhizomes – best contained. Blooms in summer (June to Sept. depending on moisture). Plants have separate male & female flowers on the same plant. Flowers are small, yellow in hanging clusters. Not showy. Blooms/fruits: Uses in the garden: Best uses are for providing habitat (see below) and for medicinal garden. Fine component for a woodland garden, particularly in moist shady areas. Be sure to plant out of the way to prevent brushing against the plant. Would do fine in pots, bog gardens. Young leaves can be boiled for nutritious spinach-like vegetable (removes the stinging chemicals). Important medicinal plant for a variety of conditions. Fibers can be used for making paper, cloth. Dye plant. Sensible substitute for: Non-native woodland plants. Attracts: Excellent all-round habitat plant. Many species of insects that feed on it including larva of Painted Lady; Red Admiral; Satyr; West Coast Lady. Many adult butterflies use nectar. Birds eat seeds in fall. Requirements: Element Sun Soil Water Fertilizer Other Requirement Full sun (best) to part shade. Any texture; any pH Moist soils (Zone 3) Prefers a soil rich in nutrients; use bog-type soil mix with organic mulches. Probably best to contain. Can be controlled by cutting back growing stems 3 times Spreads less if allowed to dry out in summer. Management: a year. Propagation: from seed: easy, fall or spring by divisions: any time Plant/seed sources (see list for source numbers): 10, 13, 16, 20 2/25/11 © Project SOUND