Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Gaelic: Gath Dubh, Deanntag Lìn
Common hemp-nettle is also known as hemp nettle, brittlestem hemp-nettle, brittle-stem hemp-nettle.
Common hemp-nettle occurs in gardens and arable land and waste spaces, it is a member of the mint family.
This wildflower is an annual, it has a single square stem which is swollen at the places where the leaves join it. The stem and leaves are very hairy, the hairs bend abruptly backwards these make the leaves feel rough.
Common hemp-nettle has deep pink flowers (occasionally purple or white) with yellow centres. The flowers look rather like those of a snap-dragon.
This wildflower is self-fertile, it's flowers are hermaphrodite, so have both male and female organs - it can self-pollinate.
Common hemp-nettle can grow a metre tall, very quickly. It is a pioneer plant, one of nature's species for returning land to the wild, so grows well on disturbed ground.
Uses of Common Hemp-nettle
Common hemp-nettle is poisonous and can cause paralysis.
Skilled practitioners have used it as a treatment for tissue-wasting diseases. It has also been used to treat lung-complaints.
The fibre of the plant has a long history of use in making rope.
The seed of common hemp dead-nettle is processed into a drying oil which is used a leather polish.
Common hemp-nettle is a native wildflower of the Western Isles.
See`another photograph of common hemp-nettle.
Photography Frank Stark
Leurbost - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
12th June, 2007
Frank's web site of his nature photography