Often called common nettle, stinging nettle or nettle leaf, Nettles are the exclusive larval food plant for several species of butterflies. Stinging nettle is particularly found as an understory plant in wetter environments, but it is also found in meadows. Although nutritious, it is not widely eaten by either wildlife or livestock, presumably because of the sting.
Nettle produces its inflammatory effect on skin (stinging, burning sensation often called “contact urticaria”) both by impaling the skin via spicules – causing mechanical irritation – and by biochemical irritants, such as histamine, serotonin, and choline, among other chemicals. the use of dock leaves on nettle stings is an established folk remedy, and revolves around the sap released from rubbing the leaf over affected areas of skin, which provides a cooling sensation. Docks and nettles regularly grow in the vicinity of each other due to both plants favouring the same soil conditions, and this may have aided the dock’s popularity as a treatment for nettle stings.