Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal

Wildflower Logo.
Wildflowers & Weeds

Facebook Button.
Banner Image.  
Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Weed Ecology, Mushrooms, and more.
Home | Plant Identification | Plant Families Gallery | Edible Plants | Mushrooms | Links
Desertification & Weed Ecology | Weed Profiles | E-Mail | Search this Site

Urticaceae: Stinging Nettle Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Plants of the Stinging Nettle Family

      Many species of the Stinging Nettle family have a memorable way of identifying themselves for you. Hairs underneath the leaves function as hypodermic needles to inject formic acid into the skin when you come in contact with them. Three genera of the family have stinging hairs: Urtica, Laportea, and Hesperocnide, the last being a native of California.

      Members of the Stinging Nettle family are herbs with simple, usually opposite leaves and occasionally squarish, usually hairy stems. The greenish or brownish flowers are mostly unisexual with male and female flowers on the same or different plants. There are 4 or 5 sepals, 0 petals and 4 to 5 stamens. The ovary is positioned superior and has only one carpel (unicarpellate). It matures as a dry seed, called an achene. Worldwide, there are 45 genera and 550 species. Six genera are found in North America. The Mulberry family is sometimes included in this family.

      Most species in the family are edible as pot herbs. The plants have strong fibers for making cordage. The silkplant (Boehmeria) is said to have the longest fibers known in the plant kingdom, with a tensile strength eight times greater than cotton (Fern).

Key Words: Usually hairy plants with petalless flowers in string-like clusters from the leaf axils.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.

Urtica dioica. Stinging Nettle.

Urtica dioica. Stinging Nettle. Tobacco Root Mountains. Pony, Montana.

Urtica dioica. Stinging Nettle.

Urtica dioica. Stinging Nettle.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West
 Urtica dioica. Stinging nettle.

Stinging nettle. Urtica dioica. Photographed in Sweden.

There are more
Stinging Nettle Family pictures

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Identify plants with
Botany in a Day
Foraging the Mountain West
Start feasting with
Foraging the Mountain West

Return to the Plant Families Index
Return to the Wildflowers & Weeds Home Page

      Looking for life-changing resources? Check out these books by Thomas J. Elpel:

Green Prosperity: Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams.
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, and the Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

Portal Icon.
Return to Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal | Web World Tunnel

Thomas J. Elpel's Web World Pages
About Tom | Green University®, LLC
HOPS Press, LLC | Dirt Cheap Builder Books
Primitive Living Skills | Outdoor Wilderness Living School, LLC
Wildflowers & Weeds | Jefferson River Canoe Trail
Roadmap To Reality | What's New?

© 1997 - 2021 Thomas J. Elpel