Each year around late March through to mid-May is ts’exts’ix (Stinging Nettle) harvesting time in Squamish.
It is best harvested for eating when the young shoots are less than 1 ft (30.5 cm) tall and still have a purple tinge to the leaves, as they are at their most tender.
Nettles are very easy to grow in a garden, which is the most sustainable way to harvest this wonderful plant. The stems are gathered for fiber in September.
Along with native butterflies depending on nettle to lay their eggs on the leaves, birds enjoy the seeds of Nettle each fall. As a result, it is important to remember to leave enough of the plant for other non-human life.
*** Warning: Do not harvest nettles for food or tea once they have flowered as they develop gritty particles called cystoliths that can irritate the urinary tract.
What you need to harvest ts’exts’ix: Gloves, scissors or clippers, basket or cloth bag
Learn more about the spring harvest of Stinging Nettle from Skwalwen founder and ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph here.