Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

URTICACEAE

NETTLE FAMILY

Dennis W. Woodland

Annual to (soft-wooded) trees, glabrous or stinging-hairy, monoecious or dioecious
Leaves alternate or opposite, generally stipuled, petioled, often with embedded crystals
Inflorescence various, axillary
Flowers generally unisexual, small, greenish; sepals generally 4–5, free to fused; petals 0
Staminate flower: stamens generally 4–5, opposite sepals, in bud incurved, then springing out
Pistillate flower: ovary 1, superior, chamber 1, style 0–1, stigma 1, generally hair-tufted
Fruit: generally achene (drupe)
Genera in family: 50 genera, 700 species: worldwide; some cultivated (Boehmeria ; Pilea , clearweed)
Reference: [Miller 1971 J Arnold Arb 52:40–68]
Wind-pollinated.

URTICA

STINGING NETTLE

Annual to shrub, weak, stinging-hairy or not, monoecious or dioecious
Leaves 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
Species in genus: ± 50 species: especially temp
Etymology: (Latin: to burn, from stinging hairs)
Reference: [Woodland 1982 Syst Bot 7:282–290]

Native

U. dioica L.

Perennial 10–30 dm, from rhizome, ± erect
Leaf: blade generally > 40 mm, narrowly lanceolate to widely ovate, base tapered to cordate
Inflorescence spike-, raceme-, or panicle-like, 1–7 cm, generally > petiole, with only staminate or pistillate flowers
Fruit ovate
Ecology: Streambanks, margins of deciduous woodlands, moist waste places
Elevation: < 3000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, White and Inyo Mountains, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: US, Canada, n Mexico, Eurasia
Ssp. d. dioecious, native to Eurasia; naturalized in North America including CA.

Native

subsp. gracilis (Aiton) Selander

AMERICAN STINGING NETTLE

Generally monoecious
Stem 10–25 dm, green; nonstinging hairs (stem and lower leaf surface) 0 to moderate
Chromosomes: 2n=26,52
Ecology: Habitats and elevations of sp.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, n Central Coast
Distribution outside California: US, Canada
Synonyms: U. californica Greene; U. lyallii S. Watson

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