I bet you don’t know what that is! It was very hard to find something beginning with U. I had to use the special Latin name they use for naming plants. Mummy said if I didn’t want to use this one I could talk about the Umbelliferous plants that we eat. But I’ve already done that as it’s carrots and things in that family. I did mention Urtica dioica once by its English name. It’s as good as spinach but you have to be very careful when you pick it and cook it. Mummy has a recipe for soup and for a pie using it. She went and picked some at Easter wearing her thickest gardening gloves. Have you guessed yet? It’s the stinging nettle!
It might sound strange to you that we like stinging nettles, but if you bite them right you don’t get stung. The little hairy things that jab you are on the underside of the leaf. So if you grab them right you squash them before they can do anything. The young leaves are the best. They don’t really develop their sting till they are older anyway. Then if you dry them they don’t sting at all. They are really nice dried and put in our forage mixes and in the Excel Treats (E for Excel).
Mummy says our North American friends may not know what stinging nettles are. I will get a photo for you. They are weeds (native wildflowers) that grow very thick. Lots of butterfly caterpillars feed on them. Lots of people spend a lot of time and money pulling them out and trying to kill their roots. Mummy often pulls them out and gives them to us, but we only nibble them when they are very small. They taste good though. The sting gives you people a rash a bit like poison ivy perhaps, Mummy says, but she’s never encountered poison ivy personally.
Here’re some nettles by our wall:
I don’t know why it is called urtica in Latin. Maybe urtica means nettle. Anyway, that is my offering for U.