Our ‘species of the day’ series is a month long feature throughout June 2011 that celebrates biodiversity in the County Borough of Bridgend, South Wales. It’s part of Wales Biodiversity Week that promotes biodiversity and its benefits throughout Wales.
Today’s local species of the day in Bridgend is the Nettle.
The nettle must be one of the most easily recognised species of plant in the UK as most of has been stung by one. It has jagged leaves and sinuous stems, with the plant growing to a metre in height. The sting is purely for defence and comprises formic acid within a glass like structure that is said to be able to burst a balloon if put against the nettle. Although not the most popular plant with many people for obvious reasons, the nettle is an important plant for a number of butterfly species such as the red admiral, comma, painted lady and small tortoiseshell, which lay their eggs on the nettle to avoid predation.