This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Small Nettle - Urtica Urens.
According to Liz we are all familiar with the Common nettle, usually we have learnt to recognise it very quickly after being stung. Small nettle is another species and is found on all the inhabited islands. It likes a lighter soil and is more likely to be found in a sandy field. In agriculture it is indicator that the soil is lime deficient.
Small nettle, not unsurprisingly, is smaller than the Common nettle. It is also very similar although the leaves are shorter with a more pronounced toothed edge. It looked different enough for me to unwisely lift the leaf to see if there were any flowers to help identification. It is definitely a nettle and one with a very strong sting.
The botanical name, Urtica urens, means a nettle that stings. One of my ID books says the sting is milder than the Common nettle. I think not.
Small nettle is really popular in homoeopathy. It is used to soothe itching, burning and stinging skin, burns, insect bites, and breast problems. It also treats gout, rheumatism and shellfish allergies.
Small nettle is native to Europe and Asia. It has been introduced to New Zealand and North America. In the UK, as on our islands, it is rarer than our Common nettle.
You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.