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I bought a bunch of cilantro today at my usual produce market and when I picked it up, I felt a couple of pricks on my fingers that started itching a lot. When I got home and started preparing said cilantro, I found a twig of something that is definitely not cilantro. I don't know if that was what caused the earlier itching, as I managed to not touch it.

Could it be some kind of nettle? How could it make its way into commercial cilantro?

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This seems to be a young specimen of a nettle, a member of the urticaceae family, possibly urtica urens (stinging / dwarf nettle) or some relation.

It is a weed that grows "everywhere" and rather quickly. Perhaps a seed has gotten into the cilantro field and was just harvested with the cilantro. These things happen, although not often. It's always a good idea to check your herbs, not only for stowaways like this.

  • Especially check for hitchhikers in "organic" labeled herb bunches. I have found other plants and bugs (spit bugs to tiny caterpillars) – Deirdra Strangio Jan 22 '15 at 23:16

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