A herbaceous, perennial flowering plant, native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. The plant is known for its long history as a medicine and food source, and is symbolic in Hans Christian Andersen’s ballet, The Wild Swans. It has a flavour similar to spinach and cucumber when cooked and is rich in a great variety of nutrients and vitamins. Particularly high in sugar concentration, the plant can also be made into a great variety of drinks. Most probably the best-known member of the “Urtica” nettle family, the hollow, needle-like hairs on its leaves and stems inject histamine and other chemicals which cause a stinging sensation upon human or animal contact.