The word nettle is associated with plants that sting as a defence mechanism.The nettle plant in Nepal is the big brother of the stinging nettle found in other parts of the world. More commonly known as 'Allo' or the Giant Himalayan Nettle its botanical name is Girardinia diversifolia.
Giant Himalayan Nettle grows profusely in the middle hills of Nepal at altitudes of 3900 feet to 10000 feet and grows in stands with many stems growing in each stand. This plant has been used in the middle hills of Nepal for centuries for extracting fibres and turning them into clothing, as well as sacks and bags for various uses around the home and farm.
I remember walking to my village with the nettle plants growing to about 3 to 4 metres all around us in the forest except the path that we used to walk on. The village elders would warn us not to fall in the nettle as that would sting us badly.
When the British troops came to Nepal in the 1800s they were repelled by the forests of nettle and the villagers throwing rocks and hornets down the hillside!
The other side of the nettle plant is that it gives the most amazing fibre, and is known as the 'King of Natural Fibres'. It can be turned into many different products that we have introduced in Wildweaves. The fibre is a hollow fibre and is warm in the winter and cool in the summer and is luxurient in nature hence is very good for coats and scarves. Since the fibre is about three metres in length and most of the work in Nepal is done by hand processing these beautiful fibres, they are also very strong.
This is Udaya's favourite fibre. If there is anything else you would like to know about nettle you can get in touch by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.