The stinging nettle (Urticaria dioica) is the Malcom Tucker of the plant world.
If living seasonally is about celebrating the changes, this includes the end of these monsters.
Like Malcom Tucker, these sinister lot stalk you everywhere. Behind the bins, bam. On the garage roof, bam. In your front porch, bam.
They looks so amicable, with the faux softness of their little hairs. You'd naturally give up your seat on the bus for the frail figure of Malcom Tucker. Then you'd realise your skin is bubbling from all the toxic expletives unleashed on you.
The stinging nettle dominates the political landscape of the humble hedgerow, using its thick rhizomes to infiltrate the area and crush all competitors. Butterflies and moths lead the fight back, with the larvae of many important species feeding on the nettle.
Join the assault by foraging early in the season. The leaves are more tender earlier in the year (before June is best), and boil to remove the sting.
Tricks of the trade: You must stand up to Tucker. Take a firm grasp to quash the stinging hairs. If you're meek, then tickling the hairs causes more intense pain. Confront like Jamie McDonald, not Ollie Reeder.
The nettle whips the surroundings into shape, sneering at the flesh of foragers. Although a perennial, they die back to the ground for winter. The public inquiry is well under way, with this plant well and truly on its way out
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