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

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

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The relationship between dock leaves and nettles is riddled with myth - so it's mainly coincidence that nettles are found near their 'cure'.

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.


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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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