Thursday, 21 August 2014

A sting in the tail (28/6/14)

Small tortoiseshell caterpillars (Nymphalidae family) feeding on stinging nettles (Urtica dioica). These nettles don’t just have a sting in the tail, they are a gardener’s friend. As well as being a vital food source for many native British butterflies, they also indicate a particularly nutrient-rich soil. This would explain why I find so many nettle patches in the far corner of gardens, where the compost bin used to be. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend beating yourself with them as the Romans did to alleviate eczema, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised if you pick a few tips & wilt them into soup or a stew. Just remember your thickest gardening gauntlets!

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