Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The 'biting cat' nettle

Hikers in Taiwan are often warned about this species of stinging nettle, which grows up to 1.2m tall. It's known to botanists as Urtica thunbergiana and to ordinary Taiwanese as 咬人貓 (yǎorénmao, 'biting people cat'). In addition to mid- and low-elevation mountain areas in Taiwan, it's also found in China and Japan. The stings may cause considerable discomfort for up to half a day but there's no need to seek medical attention if you brush against a plant. In two decades of frequent hiking, I've never suffered any stings.

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