Trees

White nettle (Lamium album)

The Lamium album is commonly known as white nettle. It has also been used in the production of natural and industrial medicines due to its multiple properties. From the ornamental point of view, its cultivation draws a lot of attention in gardening. The size of this plant is ideal for growing in pots and it produces very showy small flowers. Although it occurs perfectly in Mediterranean habitats, it has also managed to adapt to America where it has positively thrived over the centuries.

Place of origin of the white nettle

Lamium album is native to Europe, North Africa and part of Asia, that is, it is native to the Mediterranean. This species belongs to the Lamiaceae family and is known by many names, including white nettle, lamio, white lamio and white dead nettle.

characteristics

The Lamium album or white nettle is a plant with some angular stems. It is characterized by being herbaceous and perennial. The approximate height of the nettle is 50 cm and it can even reach 60 cm high by one meter wide in very favorable conditions. The leaves of this plant have a cordiform appearance and are 3 to 8 cm long and 2 to 5 cm wide. The shape is of a triangle being a little round at the base. The small flowers do not usually exceed 2.5 cm in length and tend to be white with small ocher spots.

The White Nettles are a genus made up of around 30 known species and more than 300 described. Some varieties are annual and others are perennial. In this case, it is perennial and reproduces in a habitat located between 500 and 2500 meters above sea level. It also needs to be developed in places with little wind, sporadic rains and in areas with lots of vegetation and water availability, such as bushes. The plant reproduces in its natural space in a hermaphroditic way through fertile anthophiles.

Cultivation and care

To cultivate white nettle, it must be taken into account that its development will be optimal if it is carried out in soils with acidic, alkaline or neutral pH and sandy soil. The soil must have good drainage because it is important to remember that unless it is a plant of swamps and river banks, waterlogging brings many pest problems especially for Lamium album. With regard to luminosity, nettle is not a demanding plant. It develops well in semi shade or exposed directly to the sun. Regarding the temperature, due to its origin, it adapts easily to cold climates, even to frost.

When sowing in pots, universal substrate is used by adding an organic fertilizer every four weeks and pruning is not necessary. Important if it is to water it so that the soil remains moist with good drainage. The multiplication can be done by seeds or cuttings always in spring once there is no longer any risk of frost because the young plant is not so resistant to low temperatures.

Properties and uses

Popular wisdom has given white nettle several properties. Self-taught herbalists have used the plant for cleansing purposes and to relieve rheumatism. If it has been proven that its consumption does not cause any harm and has saved many human beings from famine during different times. This has been deeply studied by the pharmaceutical industry and has proven its qualities to alleviate respiratory conditions such as bronchitis. That is why it has been very popular among the inhabitants of the Andes in its medicinal use.

Besides, it also has properties to relieve digestive problems and restore the intestinal flora. Women use it for pain related to menstruation, which is why it is considered an effective pain reliever. The Spanish brought the white nettle to America during the colonization process and this plant adapted perfectly to the Andean moors. The plant is noble for its simple beauty and multiple benefits, which is why it is highly appreciated while still having beautiful qualities for gardening.

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