Also known as Stinging Nettle, this familiar wayside perennial stands 60-100cm high and is well-known for its unpleasant sting. It has pretty spear-shaped, toothed, opposite leaves which are longer than their stalks and very tiny green flowers from June to September which are wind-pollinated. The little male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, the male flowers projecting from the leaf-stem axils and the female flowers growing in long catkin-like clusters. Common Nettle's sting comes from acid which is released onto the skin when the tiny hairs break off on being touched. Common Nettle is a native plant and belongs to the family Urticaceae.
Nettle was a much feared plant of my childhood. It grew all along the laneway behind our garden where we played as children - this was in Dundrum, Co Dublin in the 1950's (when summers were always warm and school holidays never lasted long enough). However we grew to know the soothing properties of the sap of a Dock leaf as an antidote to the Nettle's sting.
The photographs were taken in Gibletstown, Co Wexford in 2007.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre