A rhizomatous and stoloniferous perennial herb occurring in a wide range of habitats, including woods, scrub, unmanaged grasslands, fens, river banks, hedgerows, roadsides, manure heaps, cultivated and waste ground. It prefers damp, nutrient-rich soils. 0-850 m (Great Dun Fell, Westmorland).
Since the 1950s, U. dioica seems to have increased, perhaps due to the widespread use of artificial fertilisers, but this is not obvious at the 10-km scale. A pubescent, stingless form from fens and carr has been referred to U. galeopsifolia.
Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Atlas text references
1977. The biology of Canadian weeds. 21. Urtica dioica L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 57:491-498. .
1992. Urtica galeopsifolia Wierzb. ex Opiz (Urticaceae) in Wicken Fen (E. England). Watsonia. 19:127-129. .
1948. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 23. Urtica genus L. (pp. 339-343), Urtica dioica L. (pp. 343-351), Urtica urens L. (pp. 351-355). Journal of Ecology. 36:339-355. .
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology. .
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1976) .
1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols. .
1998. Review of biology and ecology of Urtica dioica. Preslia (Praha). 70:1-19.