I vaguely remember in my childhood, many years ago, grabbing what looked like stinging nettles and eating them. I was trying to impress a young lady but she clearly thought that my macho ways with weeds was rather daft because she began dating my best friend instead. Life is full of such sadness.
The plant that I was happy to handle without fear of being stung was the look-a-like ‘white deadnettle’ or ‘lamium album’ to give it the posh name.
It has very similar leaves to the notorious stinging nettle but its white flowers betray its gentler nature. The flowers are designed for bumblebees. The bees land on the bottom lip and then squeeze themselves into the flower tube heading for the nectar. The bees brush against the stamens that hang from the upper lip and collect pollen which they carry onwards to other flowers.
The white deadnettle may be classified as a weed but it has a friendly nature and grows in the shade under the apple tree and is quite content to help the bees out.