I've been gardening for years and have never encountered a stinging nettle. I didn't even know what they looked like. Well, that all changed today. While weeding my herb patch I became quite familiar with the spiteful little things. I'd swear I heard that plant say, "Take that!" when I plucked at it. (Perfectly understandable. It was fighting for its' life.) But it's six hours later now and my knuckles are still burning. I'll be weeding with garden gloves in future.
If you don't know what stinging nettles look like, this is a photo from Wikipedia (permission granted to copy). And this is a link to another blog site with a larger photo.
I would've taken a photograph, but I retaliated so quickly that I dug them all out and shoved them in the green bin. Touche' !
One encounter with a stinging nettle, and that is one plant you'll always be able to identify. Urtica dioica, unfortunately is a perennial. I've been stung twice by jellyfish. Once in Prince Edward Island and again in Mallorca and I would say the sting is almost identical. The nettle packs quite a punch. It's a wonder anyone would take it orally as a pain reliever.
Yesterday I was writing about the Elderberry, which has a similar duality about it. It can be poisonous, or a health aid. I suppose this characteristic applies to people too. No individual is all bad or good. Everyone has the potential for both. But people who sting like a nettle are best dumped in the trash right away. Whereas those who gave you a delicious moment, followed by a bit of a bad time, like elderberry, might be deserving of a second chance.