Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea


Higher Taxonomy
Family: UrticaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 50 genera, 700 species: worldwide; some cultivated (Boehmeria, ramie; Pilea, clearweed).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Dennis W. Woodland
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: UrticaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: 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.
Etymology: (Latin: to burn, from stinging hairs)
Unabridged Reference: Woodland 1982 Syst Bot 7:282--290
Species: Urtica dioicaView Description 

Habit: 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.
Note: Urtica dioica subsp. dioica dioecious, native to Eurasia; naturalized in North America; report from California in FNANM based on an unconfirmed collection.
Urtica dioica L. subsp. holosericea (Nutt.) Thorne
Habit: Generally monoecious. Stem: 10--30 dm. Leaf: narrow-lanceolate to wide-ovate. Chromosomes: 2n=26.
Ecology: Meadows, seeps, springs, margins of marshes, streams, lakes, moist areas in chaparral, coastal scrub; Elevation: < 3370 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (exc but expected NCo, SNF), GB, DMoj (uncommon); Distribution Outside California: western United States, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Jun--Sep Note: Plants in shade tend to have wider leaves, fewer hairs, so approach Urtica dioica subsp. gracilis. This name is a later homonym and therefore illegitimate, so that a new combination in Urtica dioica at the rank of subsp. needs to be made.
Synonyms: Urtica holosericea Nutt.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Dennis W. Woodland
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Urtica dioica subsp. gracilis
Next taxon: Urtica urens

Botanical illustration including Urtica dioica subsp. holosericeabotanical illustration including Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Dennis W. Woodland 2012, Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 13, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 13, 2024.

Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea
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©2004 George W. Hartwell
Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea
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©2015 Keir Morse
Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea
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©2013 Neal Kramer
Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea
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©2020 Barry Breckling
Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea
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©2013 Neal Kramer

More photos of Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Urtica dioica subsp. holosericea:
CA-FP (exc but expected NCo, SNF), GB, DMoj (uncommon)
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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 occurrence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.

View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month Flowering-Fruiting Monthly Counts

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).