Cooley’s Hedge Nettle Plant, BC Coastal Region
Cooley’s Hedge Nettle Plant, although a true Nettle, it does not sting. The Plant grows profusely on Vancouver Island.
Cooley’s Hedge Nettle is an attractive perennial arising up to 150 cm high from a rhizome. The stem is erect and usually singular. The leaves are mostly on the square stems, where they are opposite. The leaves are pubescent on both surfaces.
The flowers are arranged in a series of whorls, the flowers being on the upper part of the stem. Cooley’s Hedge Nettle grows mostly in swamps and moist low ground along the ocean edge, but may be found from sea level to nearly 4000 ft in elevation.
Cooley’s Hedge Nettle is found from the North west Pacific coast east to the eastern base of the Cascade Mountains. from southern British Columbia south to southern Oregon and all of Vancouver island.
The Nuu-chah-nulth fishermen wiped their hands on this plant before handling their gear to lessen their scent left on it. The Saanich peoples made spring tonic by steeping the crushed rhizomes in boiling water. The Haida used to chew on the young stems. The Green River and Puyallup peoples used the hedge nettle to cure boils. The Quileute used the hedge nettle as a cure for rheumatism. The Quinalt peoples sucked the nectar from the flowers and covered steaming bulbs with hedge nettle plants to aid in the steaming process.