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URTICACEAE NETTLE FAMILY

Robert E. Preston & Dennis W. Woodland

Annual, perennial herb [to shrub, soft-wooded tree], hairs stinging and not [glabrous]; monoecious or dioecious; wind-pollinated. Leaf: alternate or opposite, generally stipuled, petioled, blade often with translucent, raised dots due to crystals in epidermal cells. Inflorescence: axillary, 1-flowered or head-, raceme-, or panicle-like. Flower: generally unisexual, small, ± green; sepals generally 4–5, free to fused; petals 0. Staminate flower: stamens generally 4–5, opposite sepals, incurved in bud, reflexing suddenly when flower opens. Pistillate flower: ovary 1, superior, chamber 1, style 0–1, stigma 1, generally hair-tufted. Fruit: generally achene.
50 genera, 700 species: worldwide; some cultivated (Boehmeria, ramie; Pilea, clearweed). [Boufford 1997 FNANM 3:400–413] —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Miller 1971 J Arnold Arbor 52:40–68]

Key to Urticaceae

URTICA STINGING NETTLE
Annual, perennial herb [to shrub], weak, stinging hairs 0 or few to many; monoecious or dioecious. Stem: branched or not, erect, spreading, or decumbent. Leaf: opposite, lanceolate to cordate, toothed, prominently 3–5-veined from base; crystals round to elongate. Inflorescence: head-, raceme-, or panicle-like. Staminate flower: sepals 4, ± free, green, sharp-bristly; stamens 4. Pistillate flower: sepals 4, ± free, outer 2 < inner 2. Fruit: lenticular to deltate, enclosed by 2 inner sepals.
± 45 species: especially temperate. (Latin: to burn, from stinging hairs)
Unabridged references: [Woodland 1982 Syst Bot 7:282–290]

Key to Urtica

U. dioica L.
NATIVE
Perennial herb 5–30 dm, from rhizome, ± erect, stinging hairs few to many, non-stinging 0 to dense, generally shorter. Leaf: blade 6–20 cm, narrow-lanceolate to wide-ovate, base tapered to cordate. Inflorescence: spike-, raceme-, or panicle-like, 1–7 cm, generally > petiole, of staminate or pistillate flowers. Fruit: ovate. Urtica dioica subsp. dioica dioecious, native to Eurasia; naturalized in North America; report from California in FNANM based on an unconfirmed collection. [Online Interchange]

U. dioica subsp. gracilis (Aiton) Selander AMERICAN STINGING NETTLE
NATIVE
Generally monoecious. Stem: 10–25 dm. Leaf: generally wide-ovate.
2n=26,52. Moist or riparian areas, willow scrub; < 245 m. North Coast, Klamath Ranges (Trinity Alps), deltaic San Joaquin Valley, n Central Coast; United States, Canada. Mar–Oct [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Dec 21 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Urtica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=53302, accessed on Dec 21 2014

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click for enlargement Urtica dioica subsp. gracilis
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© 1995 Saint Mary's College of California

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Urtica dioica subsp. gracilis Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.