Plant ID forum: Is this stinging nettle? Or catnip?

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Name: Jane
Tobyhanna, PA (Zone 5a)
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PAgirl63
May 15, 2015 7:18 PM CST
I know that the 2 plants can look similar. On this plant, the leaves and stem are not hairy. The leaves are not rough, but not soft either. There is also no aroma when I brush the leaves. I'm leaning toward the nettle. Am I correct?
Thumb of 2015-05-16/PAgirl63/23c6df

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
May 15, 2015 8:28 PM CST
If you brush the leaves with your bare hand, you'll know soon enough if it is stinging nettle! (But it does not look like it to me.)
Porkpal
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
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Swayback
May 15, 2015 9:03 PM CST
There's several kinds of stinging nettle, they aren't all the same...

The nettles I'm familiar with have alternate leaves, that plant has opposite...
One type is small and light colored and grows in open disturbed ground- field nettle
The other only grows along creek banks and adjacent damp wooded areas it gets large and is deep green
-- creek nettle!
Creek nettle are no joke! They will light you up!
By midsummer they can get head high, they're hard to spot then and it easy to find yourself fully surrounded!
If you in short pants and sleeves... Your in for a rough ride! God forbid your shirtless!
From here down I'm talking about creek nettle.
When I'm walking the woods I notice a plant that looks basically just like the plant above, for a while I misidentified it as nettle... That is, until the real nettles get right and start stinging!
They grow side by side here and really do look similar!
In addition to the leaves being alternate vs opposite, I notice that it has a more "aggressive" look to it(imagine that!)The serrations on the leaf are sharper, especially the point of the leaf, not rounded at all, the point often curved off to one side.
The leaves will be more broad at the midpoint, slightly more rounded except for that long tip.
The leaves will also be darker green in the middle, and light around the margin, the youngest leaf will almost always have a portion in the middle that is very textured, bumpy, pitted, I'm not sure exactly how to describe it.

Close inspection will reveal the nasty stingers, they will often be very long and dense toward the crown, looking like gramps needs a shave... If you get them in the sun, the stringers will make prisms and flash all the colors or the rainbow... There's beauty in everything!
Nettle will also have purple towards the base of the plant.

The best give away to my eyes as I'm walking and tiptoeing through these 2 plants, is that the nettles terminal shoot will have a section at the very top that has a lot of leaves very tightly packed, as the plants grows they stretch but the top always has a thick canopy and sparsely leaved lower section.
Think palm tree...
Once you train your eye it's unmistakeable! But until then... there's many imposters...

If you do get hit by em, don't scratch!
And just remember to breathe!
You know there's one fail safe way to figure out if the plant you're lookin at is a nettle! Rolling on the floor laughing
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 15, 2015 9:31 PM CST
Ask the cat. Rolling on the floor laughing Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

But seriously, all of the nettles that I am acquainted with have opposite leaves like your plant does.
Did you plant seeds for both catnip and nettle? Or did this just pop up in your garden?
Can you take a clear close-up photo of the stems?

To be on the safe side, until this plant is identified, please place a little wire cage around the plant to avoid accidental contact.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Swayback
May 15, 2015 10:11 PM CST
Hrm... Wonder what this plant is that's been burnin me up for all these years... I was just looking at them the other day and they defiantly have alternate leaves...
And big bad stingers... Looks like I need my own thread...
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 16, 2015 7:57 AM CST
Good idea. Start a thread and please take some photos ...from a safe distance. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 16, 2015 10:07 AM CST
If it helps I have both growing beside the barnyard, here are pics:

Stinging Nettle

Thumb of 2015-05-16/sooby/2fd29e

Catnip

Thumb of 2015-05-16/sooby/c7f187

Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
May 16, 2015 10:37 AM CST
I vote catnip.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
May 16, 2015 10:42 AM CST
I'm leaning toward verbena bonariensis.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 16, 2015 10:50 AM CST
If you didn't get stung (nettle), and it doesn't have a distinct fragrance (catnip), it could very well be something else. Perhaps wait for it to flower and post another picture? Is this a volunteer?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Swayback
May 16, 2015 11:03 AM CST
Looks like we need a nettle expert!

None of these plants look like the nettles we have around here...

I'd have just brushed against the plant if it were me...
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 16, 2015 12:09 PM CST
Swayback, could you be thinking of Laportea, which is in the same family, also stings, but has some alternate leaves?

See:
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/wood_net...

I can assure you that my pic is of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and it sure does sting.

I should add that I'm also thinking the original plant in question is likely neither stinging nettle nor catnip.
[Last edited by sooby - May 16, 2015 12:12 PM (+)]
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Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Swayback
May 16, 2015 12:47 PM CST
sooby said:Swayback, could you be thinking of Laportea, which is in the same family, also stings, but has some alternate leaves?

See:
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/wood_net...

I can assure you that my pic is of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and it sure does sting.

I should add that I'm also thinking the original plant in question is likely neither stinging nettle nor catnip.


That does in fact look pretty close to the plant that I've always called creek nettle, really close actually but a few minor differences but that could just be genetic variation.

If you notice I start my original response by saying there are many types of "stinging nettle", as far as I know, that's just a generic name that we use to group plants that sting with fine hairs, as opposed to thorns or spines...
I have no doubt the plant you showed is a stinging nettle of some sort, just not one that I've ever spotted around here is all.

I also tend to agree that the plant in question is likely to be neither a nettle or catnip.
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
May 16, 2015 1:58 PM CST
It reminds me of Nettle of some sort. I had West Indian Wood Nettle (Laportea aestuans) growing here last year and wore gloves to yank it out. This spring I was weeding a bed (bare-handed) Thumbs down and yanked up a bunch of Stinging Nettle (Urtica chamaedryoides) I can truly understand why that one has a common name of "Fireweed" because after coming into contact with it, my hand and arm felt like they were on fire! I immediately used a solution of baking soda and water and made a thick paste and smeared it all over my right hand and along my arm which greatly helped reduce the burning sensation ... but it was still a bit stingy for a few hours after!
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
May 16, 2015 2:08 PM CST

Moderator

It doesn't appear to be either stinging nettle or catnip. I'd vote for a verbena of some sort, but that's just one of about a thousand other possibilities. There are a lot fuzzy little forbs with opposite leaves
[Last edited by KentPfeiffer - May 16, 2015 2:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
May 16, 2015 2:19 PM CST
It could very well be Verbena and it also reminds me a bit of Lantana seedlings.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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greene
May 16, 2015 2:55 PM CST
plantladylyn said: "Fireweed" because after coming into contact with it, my hand and arm felt like they were on fire! I immediately used a solution of baking soda and water...

If someone hasn't already done it, would you please consider making a quick 'Article or Idea' about that. It would sure help lots of folks and save quite a bit of pain.

Thank You!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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bamira
May 16, 2015 3:07 PM CST
maybe Agastache or other family lamiaceae -
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/family/lamiaceae/ I tip my hat to you.
[Last edited by bamira - May 17, 2015 11:08 PM (+)]
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Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Swayback
May 16, 2015 3:52 PM CST
I've actually had really good results with ammonia, it eases the pain from stings and bites of all sorts, nettle included, I've been tryin to spread the word for years.
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
May 16, 2015 5:43 PM CST
Ammonia is great for stings of all kinds too ... and Vinegar!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~

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