Nettle, Nettle or Perhaps Nettle

Knokkon textiles always uses stinging nettle (Latin name urtica dioica) which is also called European nettle or Common nettle and more often nettle. The fibre in the nettle is beautiful, soft as well as strong and it has this silky feeling and it works great in textiles. The fibre of nettle is strong, silvery, it is flexible and soft. Nettle is part of Urticaceae nettle family which includes several different plants and trees.

 

RELATIVES

I learned about the nettle family and other plants who are related to nettle only after I got interested in nettle as a source of textiles materials. As I started to study the possibilities the nettle has, I was surprised how some of the nettles relative plants are also called nettle and their correct names. I even saw a picture of a nettle along with a certain product telling this is 100 % nettle. Surely, I got very interested and asked how and where there is the product made. I want to meet this person who can make something to beautiful out of 100 % nettle! I knew it is very difficult and challenging to even make a short cordage with just nettle. . At the end of the day I found out it was not nettle but allo. Allo is one of nettles relative plants growing in Asia. We had this wonderful conversation and I had a chance to explain there is a difference.

 

Urticaceae-family includes also plants called ramie (Boehmeria nivea), māmaki (Pipturus albidus), ajlai (Debregeasia saeneb) and allo (Girardinia diversifolia Urticaceae-family is spread all over the world Nettle grows mostly in Europe and Nepal and India has lots of ramie, ajlai and allo Ramie ja allo are mostly mixed with nettle. Below I have a list of the most common plants of Urticaceae-family. I will start with nettle since it is the one used in Knokkon products.

 

Nettle

  • also called stingin nettle
  • grows wild mostly in Europe and in Canada
  • cultivated nettle grows in Germany for fibre
  • cultivated nettle grows in Finland for nutritious purposes
  • perennial
  • grows 1,5 m to 2 meters tall
  • production is industrialized

Ramie

  • also called Chinese grass
  • grows in China
  • material resembles linen
  • strawas are cut manually
  • production is handmade into yarn and fabrics

Mamaki

  • also called Hawaiian nettle
  • grows in Hawaii island
  • grows 3-10 meters tall
  • fibre can be extracted from the bark
  • production is handmade into cordages

Aijai

  • also called Chines flower
  • Grows among others.  grows in Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Great Britain and Saudi-Arabia
  • grows 1.5-2.4 meters tall
  • fibre can be extracted from the bark
  • production is handmade into yarn and fabrics

Allo

  • also called Himalayan nettle
  • perennial
  • grows in Nepal and India
  • grows 3 meters tall
  • is harvested by hand
  • production is handmade into yarn and fabrics
Nettle nettle
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