Stinging Nettle Plant

By William T. Hathaway

Stinging Nettle Plant (Urtica urens)

The Banister cliffs are located about one mile northeast of Markham along VA 683. This site is most remarkable in that the cliffs are facing southeast and receive the full sun angle during sunny days. The elevated open path areas are at such an angle as to be exposed to maximum heating effect from the sun. These open path areas are well above the lower cliff levels and therefore escape the early spring freezing temperatures that may occur at the lover cliff levels. As a consequence of this situation, the upper paths along the cliffs are subject to favorable early spring blossoms — moreso than the Pittsylvania County countryside in general. The Stinging Nettle (Urtica urens) is a rare plant that is found in this exposed upper cliff area beside the Banister River.

The Berland's Anemone is a plant “state record” also found in this unique exposure.