botanical background


order: Rosales

family: Urticaceae

genus: Urtica

species: Burning nettle (Urtica dioica)

attributes: herbaceous with up to three metres height, urticating hair

origin: Europe to Sibiria, western China and northwestern Africa

habitat: by now also in America, Greenland and New Zeeland


Urtica dioica is shown exemplarily. The Bible might refer to Urtica urens L., because it grew in the Palestine area at the time, while the bigger Urtica dioica probably did not.


in the Bible

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from the heavens, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring out and bud, and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My Word be, which goes out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall certainly do what I sent it to do. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break out before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn, the fir tree shall come up; and instead of the brier, the myrtle tree shall come up; and it shall be to Jehovah for a name, for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 55, 8-13


In the Old Testament nettles represent a hostile, desert environment. They spread on not cultivated ground. In unfavourable prophecies the destruction of a city or terrain is often illustrated by nettles growing over it. Isaiah (Jes 55,1) predicts that after salvation myrtles (Nr. 4) will grow instead of nettles.


mentions: several

other text passages with similar weeds (selected):

Isaiah 34,13

Isaiah 55,13

Proverbs 24,31

Hosea 9,6

Zefanja 2,9



Riede, Peter: Nessel, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (März. 2015), URL: (abgerufen 06.06.2023).

Modern King James Version.

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