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Nettle me this! Know your regional pests

Nettle me this! Know your regional pests

Although nettle can make a nice tea on occasion, the perennial nettle (Urtica diocia) that our pest plants team deal with can form dense patches that compete with other native species for space and light. Livestock also don’t like it which reduces the area available for grazing. Not to mention it stings! (Which is not a reason for controlling it of course but we are happy about that).

The upright herb can grow up to 1.5 metres tall and has leaves that are heart shaped and toothed, covered in hairs that may sting. It’s often found in older gardens, forest margins, pasture, streams and river banks.

Our pest plants team are mostly finding it around rivers and streams in the Wairarapa, but have also found it in areas which are grazed by livestock.

A joint control programme between our pest plant team and the Department of Conservation hopes to eradicate perennial nettle from Matiu/Somes Island. You can see the amazing view from the Matiu/Somes Island office to the right! 

So, if you think you’ve seen perennial nettle, the team wants to know. They’ll control it for free! Contact


Do you know your nettle?

It can be hard to tell the difference between perennial nettle (Urtica diocia) and the more common annual nettle (Urtica urens). Perennial nettle will grow in large clumps and has slightly different leaves. Annual nettle is easy to pull out of the ground roots and all, whereas perennial nettle will break off if pulled due to having an expansive underground root system. In the photo above annual nettle leaves on the left, perennial nettle leaves on the right.

For more information on perennial nettle check out our fact sheet here.