Documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

THE TROUBLE WITH NETTLES - URTICA DIOICA




Stinging nettles (Urtica Dioica) aren't specially famous for their flowers. This is not surprising for they dangle uninterestingly and herald tattiness. No-one would ever dream of bringing them into the house to look pretty in the middle of a dining table. If the wind hadn't been waggling them about I would have taken their portraits so you could see what I mean. Instead, my memory card has filled with green blur after green blur after green blur and the blurs are are so dreadfully blurry they couldn't even be considered artistic.


New leaves are arriving. New plants. And the wind has played on. But if it were to leave them alone it wouldn't be blowing pollen between male and female flowers and any seeds which managed to form would drop in a pile at their feet instead of being thrown around. The reproductive life of the nettle family would be arrested. Banning the wind in October might, therefore, be a tempting option for those with omnipotence up their sleeves. On the other hand . . . there are those tough, long, yellow roots from which more nettles spring without its help . . . .



But I've managed, at last, to catch a glimpse of seeds on a few standing-still nettles. But just a glimpse. Another time I think I'll chop a few down and take them home and lay them out and photograph them that way . . . but it wouldn't be the same. 

If you'd like to know more about nettles, the University of Wisconsin has dedicated nettle pages for its students.

6 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

Crikey, that last shot is amazing! Well done.

squirrelbasket said...

I had a tall one like these at the back of a flower bed until recently and had to put on a plastic mac, gloves, etc, to avoid getting stung as I removed it.
Having said that, as a child I used to enjoy examining the little white lumps of the stings (is it that the exquisite pain makes you feel alive?)
Keep up the good blogging :)

Rowan said...

How intriguing - I've never noticed nettle seeds, I must look out for them on my next walk. I do know that nettles are a very useful plant so I shall save your link and look at the site when I have some spare time.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Hello Toffee Apple. The seed picture was cropped out of a larger frame so its quality off the blog would not be good - but it's always (I think) moving to see something which is usually so small it is hardly noticeable in the usual way of things.

Down by the sea said...

I knew it wouldn't take you long to show me something new, those seeds are amazing! I have never noticed seeds on stinging nettles before!
Sarah x

Pat Tillett said...

It's nice to learn new things! I've never seen the seeds before. Very cool catch!