Wearing Nettles

1 Feb 2013
Stinging Nettle
Photo by R.A. Nonenmacher

It’s hard to forget the feeling of brushing up against a stinging nettle. The plant’s stems are covered in what are basically tiny little hypodermic needles that inject a nasty stinging chemical concoction into any person or animal who comes too close.

Oddly enough, stinging nettles have also been used as fiber for cloth since at least the Bronze Age. Similarly to hemp or flax, the stems of the nettle plant have long fibers that can be processed and spun. The resulting yarn is said to be finer than hemp and softer than cotton. Nettles can also be used as a dye-stuff, producing yellow or yellowish-green hues.

Nettle plants have the further benefit of being very easy to grow. They require little, if any, pesticides, will grow in many different geographical areas, and they are also very easy on the soil.


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