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The common or stinging nettle is a well-known and highly successful 'weed' species (4). The roots are very tough and are yellow in colour, and the creeping stems, which often take root at their bases, produce shoots during spring (2). The oval-shaped leaves are easily recognised; they have deeply serrated edges and bear stinging hairs. These hollow hairs have a similar structure to hypodermic needles, and have a swollen base that contains the venom (4); an encounter with these leaves is not quickly forgotten (4). The specific part of the scientific name dioica means 'two houses', which refers to the fact that the male and female flowers are found on separate plants (4). The small whitish flowers are clustered in spikes known as inflorescences, which reach up to 10 cm in length (2).

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Source: ARKive

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