Trichome of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)

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Charles Krebs
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Trichome of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)

Post by Charles Krebs »

If you have ever grabbed one of these plants with bare hands while pulling some weeds, or brushed against one when wearing shorts, you are intimately familiar with these "stinging hairs", or trichomes. The cell tube is made of silica. The enlarged base is a tiny reservoir of unpleasant chemicals such as acetylcholine, histamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine. When touched ever so slightly, the tiny bulb at the end shears off at an angle, producing an incredibly sharp tip that easily penetrates the skin.
... and then...:smt119

These were taken at about 14X, using a 12.5mm Minolta bellows micro lens on a Nikon bellows. Camera was a Nikon D200. Each shot is about 10 frames combined using Helicon Focus. These trichomes were located around the developing flower buds and were smaller than the ones on the plant stem... I figure about 1.25mm from tip to base.



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Post by rjlittlefield »

Well, it's a good story...but where's the picture? 8)

Next, of course, I want to see a sheared-off spine, with a really sharp tip and a drop of fluid just itching to to speak... :roll:


PS. Beautiful pictures, as always. :D

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos » I only "too" familar with these. I remember them from being a young boy in only a pair of shorts running through the backwoods and feilds. Gives one a burning sensation just from looking at them. :shock:

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Post by beetleman »

Amazing photos Charles..we miss you over here in the macro forums. I know all to well how they feel against my leg. Only once is all it takes. :shock: Yea, I want to see the spine in the blistering skin cells hehehehehe :lol:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
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Post by Planapo »

Great instructive pictures that would really do a botany textbook honour! Thanks for sharing.

Over here now in spring we collect the young stinging nettles, shortly boil them in water and serve them like spinach. They can also be prepared together with spinach. Spice it with sour cream, pepper, soy sauce. Have it on spaghetti al dente. Give a spoonful of quince or apple jelly/syrup over it when a portion is on your plate. On top grate some fresh Parmesan (don´t take that disgusting pre-grated stuff out of the bag/can). Sprinkle tuna (in brine, out of the tin) on top and at last drizzle some good olive oil (extra vergine) over it. A healthy and yummy dish. Bon apetit! (You don´t mind me :smt061 sharing a little recipe, do you?. It´s not OT, anyway). :D

And I know that somewhere in Britain they run a contest where the blokes devour loads of raw stinging nettles, as many as they can in a given time. :shock: The one who manages to stuff down the most will be the winner. I wonder how one´s gums, tongue, throat and stomach must feel thereafter ?! :smt016 :smt106 :smt118

Cheers and a jolly cheerio!
Betty :D
Last edited by Planapo on Thu May 24, 2007 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by cactuspic »

Wonderful shots, I love well done extreme macro.


Charles Krebs
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Location: Issaquah, WA USA

Post by Charles Krebs »

As for eating as a salad... makes me smile and wonder at the thought process involved in the first person to try that... something like this:
OUCH! This plant is nasty! It really stings and itches if you touch it.... how about we serve some up with dinner? :smt017

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