Nettles (Urtica dioica)

A peacock caterpillar on a nettle leaf. The caterpillar is black and spiky.

You are probably familiar with the nettle plant as something that stings your ankles when you go out for a nice walk, but actually these common plants are the main food source for a huge variety of caterpillars, including the Peacock caterpillar (pictured). Caterpillars aren’t affected by the nettle’s sting, which helps to protect the caterpillars from predators and herbivores alike that avoid the nettle plant because of its sting. Despite their sting, many people eat stinging nettles in a variety of dishes, including pasta, soups, and tea. Once cooked, these plants are described to have a spinach or cabbage-like flavour.