Be Nice to Nettles Week
  a CONE initiative
“Delicious nutritious nettles, bring to mind sunny childhood play days, excellent as an additive to compost and essential for some many caterpillars.

Thank you CONE for raising the profile and improving the reputation of this wild plant, and thanks alike to all who grow them in their garden for butterflies.”

Helen Firminger
Project Manager, London Wildlife Trust Centre for Wildlife Gardening



Butterflies of the nettle patch

Many of our most colourful and well known butterflies depend on nettles for the growth of their larvae. They are all members of the Nymphalidae ( pronounced Nim-fa-lid-eye ) or Brush-footed butterflies. This is due the front pair of legs ( which are much smaller than the other two pairs and so not used for walking ) being covered in tufts of hair like scales.

Let's take a look at those you may see in a sunny nettle patch.

Red Admiral - Vanessa atalantaRed Admiral - Vanessa atalanta
A common sight in gardens in the autumn where it will feed on Buddleja flowers and fallen fruit. Migrates from Africa each spring.
Small Tortoiseshell - Aglais urticae
The adults are frequent visitors to garden flowers.
Peacock - Inachis ioPeacock - Inachis io
Unmistakeable resident butterfly with large distinctive 'eye-spots' on the wings.
Comma - Polygonia c-album
The comma was struggling in the early 1900's but has made a remarkable comeback and is moving steadily northwards.


Nettle Lore
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Did you know?
Cloth made from nettle fibres was used as a substitute for cotton to produce German Army uniforms during the First World War.
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