Hi all, I have been thinking about singing nettles this week.
Did you know that they are significant food plants for wildlife: they support up to 40 different species of insect including the caterpillars of the Tortoiseshell, Comma and Peacock butterflies. Aphids love them too so do the ladybirds which eat the aphids. Seed eating birds like Chaffinch, Sparrow and Bullfinch love their seeds. Even toads, voles, shrews and hedgehogs are attracted to nettles to feed on the insect life living on them.
Apparently, the Romans used nettles to keep warm! The nettle’s sting is a ‘counterirritant’: this means its chemicals can actually decrease pain. Roman soldiers allegedly used this effect to adapt to the colder, harsher climate of Britain – rubbing nettles on their arms and legs to help them keep warm! (www.plantlife.org.uk)
I also found out that dock leaves don’t really heal nettle stings! Watch this short and fascinating clip by Chris Packham, who explains. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07cfwvl