Meeting Yellow Dead Nettle: A Kinder Cousin to the Stinging Kind!

Today we walked in woods that people would have been walking through for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Once you have a path through a valley, they just stay - chances are Romans walked these woods, and medieval villagers, and even quite possibly my own ancestors, though it's a good twenty miles from where I have traced them. Twenty miles would have been a long way, I suppose, in those days. You'd have to have a good reason to walk it. But today, we were walking to dispel the depression that's settled in a little, to put some miles between us and feeling blue. And the thing about walking in Somerset woodlands, you just can't feel blue.

In these woodlands, yellow dead nettle and campion sit side by side, pink and yellow, and there's less of the swathes of white wild garlic we saw last week. Everything is still tremendously green, but when you start looking into the green, the colours emerge. Yellow dead nettle is a particularly cheerful plant, and it's this one I choose to focus on as I walk, musing on how I've never noticed it before, not even when I lived in England for five years. Perhaps I just wasn't focussed on it then, so busy I was protecting a young son from the vicious spikes of stinging nettle. Yellow dead nettle - also known as yellow archangel or dummy nettle - is certainly a gentler cousin.

Yellow Dead Nettle


The leaves of yellow dead nettle are good for menstrual complaints, being used in a tea or infusion. Part of the lamium or mint family (and thus not the same family as stinging nettle, which is Urtica dioica), they possess anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and many other qualities, which you can read about in this study. Folk medicine has celebrated it for wounds, ulcers and swelllings (used as a poultice) and for burning urine and kidney troubles, for digestion and for a sleep aid, for lung complaints and as a diuretic.

All the specific medical benefits aside, yellow archangel is added to my pot along with all the other spring greens coming out of the British woods. A varied diet, they say, is so good for your general health - and I'm certainly not biased toward stinging nettle now, knowing that both purple and yellow varieties of nettle can also be used in soups, stews and teas to nourish me. It's certainly far more of a pleasure picking them, gloves free - stinging nettle leaves me with welts, only soothed by plantain (which I find much better than dock). If I was here for longer, I'd be drying them for addition to meals in the winter. Who needs super food powders from foreign countries when they grow right in one's backyard?

Lamium Galeobdolem

Whilst I've been adverse to potatoes of late, having had my fill of them, we'd planned Sunday roast vegetables and vegetarian sausages. I decide to collect a bag of yellow dead nettles, adding them to the potato and celeriac mash and blending. They turn a bright green, but they sure do make the potatoes more palatable! The flowers are sweet, and make a colourful garnish - another wild British flower to add to salad tomorrow, I think, when I go walking in the woods again.

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Nice I didn't know of this cousin.
It sounds like they taste amazing!

They were a delight. Apparently children in Spain suck the ends of the flowers! A very pretty thing, not like the in ya face stinging nettle.

That's so interesting. I have thought that nettle was medicinal only. I know I had stinging nettle for allergies. I didn't know about the yellow dead nettle and that they could be added to potatoes. I would love to be walking in this environment.


Oh absolutely edible! You can cook it like you would spinach.


Hi there, @riverflows, finally, I used esteem to be able to vote and the post, on peakd, still donno how to do it, just back online after long time, wish you all the best

Great to see you! Miss you!

Love from Texas!

I do hope your walks in the woods are lifting your spirits. We don't have yellow deadnettle, but purple deadnettle is a big one here in the spring. It's summer now though, so it's dock season. I think.

Dock and nettle seem to grow together. Did you know yellow dock is medicinal?

Yes ma'am! Curly dock too. I think curly is what we have here.

I hope my yellow dead nettle comes back again. I've not seen it yet, in the Big garden where I transplanted it last summer...

Oh yes it's quite good as a garden plant too. Do you eat it or just smile at its prettiness?

I was given it in a trade and didn't know of its properties. I do hope it appears soon...

When down in Cornwall we enjoyed an amazing cheese platter and on of them was Cornish Yarg which the wrap with nettle leaves. I was a bit dubious at first because of, well nettle but after an initial and tentative try...I was all over it like a fat kid on cake.

I don't know if this comment has any real relevance to your post but it's on the blockchain now I guess.

Oh SO relevant!!!!

How good is English cheese??? Answer? Sooo goooooodddd. And yeah... wait til I make nettle chips (crisps). Where others see weeds, I see.. YUUUM.

Yep, so bloody good! Cheese. We went to Cheddar Gorge when there also...Bought some cheese there, smashed it that night with some crackers and glass of wine. Yum. We love the UK...Weren't expecting the array of amazing foods and produce to be honest but were pleasantly surprised. Nettle chips sounds interesting!

Oh the cheese is to die for. Got some yarg today and Dorset red smoked cheddar. Cheddar Gorge was shut on wkd due to boy racers but may go for walk there tomorrow. Here's the tor for you.. at a distance!


We really liked Cheddar Gorge...Liked everywhere really. Is that the Tor from where you are staying or were you out for another walk?

We have been walking EVERYWHERE.

See the blue cross? That's us. Right on the edge of the Mendips. And you can see Glastonbury. thursday we'll walk there, as it's a public footpath and they aren't allowed to shut it. See today's post for the Tor as well. You can see where Bath is to the north as well - where the blue '3' is (sorry, it's from Pinmapple) - and see Bradford upon Avon? that's where we'll be sorta when we stay on a boat next week. And to the left, see the Bristol channel? And you can see Wookey Hole, which is near Cheddar. Best part of England, this country, no doubht. x


Oh yeah, I remember most of those places. We drove around there a bit. Ah, such good times. We love it there. Loved Bath...We stayed for 4 days there. Good times. The boat thing sounds cool, what's that all about? A canal boat?

Yes, we'll be moored at Avoncliff near Bath. Friends of a friends have a barge - said friends live on a narrow boat but she has to be more careful as she's a nurse and has to maintain social distance. But I imagine we'll get to see more people incidentally on the tow path. We used to live on 'site' which was basically a heap of people living in trucks and squatting land, 'new travellers' they're called. Many either moved to boats or the boat people were the 'other' alternative community. It's a lot more popular now, especially in London, but it did use to be quite the alternative lifestyle - you wouldn't admit to people you lived that life. As I said, different now. Basically they're living on a truck on some land with vegetables and a garden etc, and they were going to sell the boat, but of course it's impossible to do in this climate. And we're desperate for some space and time alone, and to do something different. Looking forward to it.

"Who needs super food powders from foreign countries when they grow right in one's backyard?" Sing it, sister!! Soon you will be back in your OWN backyard and life will feel easier.

Had to smile that you posted about nettles the same day that @artemisshares thought about you and nettles and crossposted.

Long Live the Nettle Queen!!!!



I know right.. me too. I must have been heavily vibing dem nettles!!! Must try to grow this one at home. Customs might be busy with COVID and forget about seeds 😂😂 Thanks for ever greening my post. And thanks for all your support this week x


@riverflows very nice article , I am getting to learn different herbs from different parts of the world's.

Its one of the greatest things about HIVE!

Nettles with yellow flowers... not around where I live 😩