Stinging nettles across the country started wilting, turning black and literally losing their sting in early September. A dog walker in Surrey was the first to notice the phenomenon: ‘I thought thank f@$k for that. There was a big patch of the bastards over by the railway line. Always used to catch my ankles in the summer. Glad to see the back of them’.
While the Head of the Botany department at King’s College, was circumspect when asked how many botanists had been assigned to identifying the virus. ‘It’s not a priority at the moment. Our thoughts are concentrated on finding a good venue for this year’s Christmas party’