JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stinging nettle leaves (Urtica dioica). This plant is covered in sharp hairs that break off when touched, releasing an irritant mixture of formic acid and enzymes. Preparations of the stinging nettle are believed to have astringent properties and can be used as a tonic in herbal medicine. Nettle plants are also grown as an alternative crop. The fibres of these plants can be used to make textile fabrics, rope, cloth and paper.
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