In the National Museum of Denmark, there's a 2,800 year old piece of Bronze Age cloth made from nettle fiber. Nettle fabric has been used a lot more recently: in the early 20th century, when Britain controlled India's supply of cotton, Germany and Austria got busy developing nettle as their own source of fabric. During World War I, German uniforms were made of it. Nettle can produce fabric dye, too. In the 1990s, German botanists re-discovered earlier research into high-fiber nettles, and today, various European clothing manufacturers specialize in nettle fabric clothing. Unlike cotton, the perennial nettle plant grows without pesticides.
(podcast: The Plant Detective, 8/2/14)