Why don't you ever see dock leaves near nettles anymore?

22nd July 2009

Asked by: Alan Mitchell, Derby

It was only ever coincidence that nettle and dock were found together. There's no symbiotic relationship between them, any more than there's any truth that dock can help with nettle stings. Broadleaf dock is hard to eradicate. But to spread it must flower and produce wind-dispersed seeds, but it won't flower if it's crowded by other plants. Dock is also deemed an 'injurious weed' by the 1959 Weeds Act, meaning DEFRA can require landowners to take steps to prevent its spread. Nettles aren't and can spread by their network of underground rhizomes.