Life is a Project

“Turn to page 12 in your text books. On this page you will see a picture of a plant. As you can see this plant is called Urtica Dioica. It is commonly known as the stinging nettle. It has a long history of use as a medicine and food source.”

* * *

“Take care as you walk through this bit of the forest, children …”

“Why miss?”

“Because some of these plants can sting you. These ones here (points) are called stinging nettles. They sting.”

“Owww!! Miss, I got stung. Look. My arm’s gone all bumpy.”

“Let’s have a look. Oh, that looks really painful Ben. See these little hairs on the plant – they’ve injected you with something called histamine. But don’t worry, because I have a magic cure.”

“Really miss, what’s that?”

“See this plant here.” (They all crouch down together beside the plant.)

“Which one miss? That one?”

“Yes. It’s called a dock leaf. If we rub your arm with it, the stinging will stop. And what’s funny is that dock leaves often grow close to stinging nettles. We call these ‘folk remedies’ and often they work really well.”

“I hate those nettle plants, miss.”

“Well, hate is a strong word, Ben. And nettles do some great things as well as stinging you. Later on we’re going to pick some and make nettle fertilizer for the plants on our allotment. We could also cook them to eat if you fancy some nettle soup?”

“Urrgghh miss, that’s disgusting.”

Later on that day …

“Wow, miss, look, in this book, there’s that plant that hurt me earlier! It’s got a funny name though, what does this say miss?”

“Shall we sound it out together? (points) Ur – ti – ca di – oi – ca. That’s the Latin name for stinging nettles.”

“That Latin word is just right, miss – it’s ‘urti’ because it’s ‘hurty’ isn’t it? (they laugh together)”

“Great mnemonic Ben.”

“Miss. I’m never ever gonna forget what that plants looks like, am I?”

“No Ben, I honestly don’t think you are.”

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