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Urtica dioica

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome with a moist pre-chill treatment.

Flowers and leaves of nettle

Urtica dioica (Image: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

The seeds of this species may be Physiologically Dormant. Allow the seeds to imbibe on agar, germination paper or sand, for 56 days at 5ºC before sowing.

Germinate on agar, germination paper (between blotters) or sand, under an alternating temperature regime of 35/20ºC or 25/15ºC (with a 8/16hr photoperiod), depending on local climatic conditions.

Seed Morphology

See more images of this species at


(The Virtual Botanic Garden), the

Digital Atlas of Economic Plants

and the  Digital Seed Atlas of the Netherlands.

Urtica dioica
(Image: W. Stuppy, RBG Kew)



Accepted name: Urtica dioica L.

Synonyms: Urtica dioica var. capensis Wedd., Urtica eckloniana Blume, Urtica eckloniana var. flavovirens Blume

Common name: common nettle

References and Links

  • Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
  • Chirco E. and Turner T. (1986). Species without AOSA Testing Procedures. The Newsletter of the Association of Official Seed Analysts, Vol 60 (2): pp2-66.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Urtica dioica.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Urtica dioica.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Urtica dioica.
    Urtica dioica (nettle) - Species profile from Kew