The first book ever on the much maligned nettles of the world, this study centres on the most abundant and common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), but also deals with other nettles throughout the world. The book includes the 100 major scientific works published on the common stinging nettle and never brought to the notice of the general public before. The author spent six years studying the ecology of the nettle patch, its invertebrate herbivores (mainly insects) and vertebrate herbivores (cattle, deer, etc.,) and their interactions with other plants: its secret life is recorded in line drawings and photographs (1000+ individual items). The line drawings and photographs appear in full colour on an accompanying CD-ROM. Also covered is nettle folklore, fibre use in World War I & II, as a food, fodder, herbal medicine, growth as a competitor plant, habitats, sex (unique exploding stamens), breeding systems, variation, evolution etc.