Origin: Eurasia and Northern Africa

Family: Urticaceae
Tribe: Urticeae
Scientific Name: Urtica dioica

Folk Names: Burn hazel, burn nettle, burn weed, common nettle, devil’s apron, devil’s claw, devil’s leaf, devil’s wort, greater nettle, hidgy-pidgy, hoky-poky, naughty man’s plaything, stinging nettle, sting weed (although not all of this species sting), tanging nettle, wergulu


Element: Fire
Day: Thursday
Planet: Mars
Zodiac: Scorpio
Deities: Thor, St Patrick

Parts used: Leaves

Magical Properties: Healing, protection, birth, death, purification, consecration, exorcism, underworld.

Substitutions: Wormwood


‘Nettle’ primarily refers to species of Urtica, but also a number of species from other genera with similar characteristics. There are roughly 70 species of Urtica, with some native to eery continent (except Antarctica); The Australian stinging nettle (or ‘scrub nettle’) is Urtica incisa.

Depending on the subspecies, the nettle may or may not contain stinging hairs amongst the non-stinging hairs, although the subsp. afghanica varies in whether or not it stings.

Type: Herb
Plant Height: 1m-1.5m
Stems: Stems are very hairy and may or may not have stinging hairs
Leaves: Soft, hairy leaves with a serrated edge, growing opposite, 3-15cm long
Flowers: From late spring until autumn, nettles produce long inflorescences of tiny green-ish or brown-ish flowers

Etymology: Urtica comes from Latin, meaning ‘sting’; Dioica is from Greek for ‘of two houses’, in reference to the plant being dioecious (ie having separate male and female plants).

In the Garden

Type: Deciduous perennial
Sow: Spring or autumn
Light: Prefers sun, but will grow in full shade
Water: Keep moist
Soil: well-drained