Urtica urens

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Urtica urens
Urtica urens 002.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Urtica
U. urens
Binomial name
Urtica urens

Urtica urens, commonly known as annual nettle, dwarf nettle, small nettle, dog nettle, or burning nettle, is a herbaceous annual flowering plant species in the nettle family Urticaceae. It is native to Eurasia, including the Himalayan regions of Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Sikkim in India and can be found in North America, New Zealand and South Africa as an introduced species. It is reputed to sting more strongly than common nettle.[1]


Unlike the perennial and dioecious stinging nettle Urtica dioica, Urtica urens is an annual plant, monoecious (with male and female flowers on the same plant) and generally much shorter. It can be distinguished from the stinging nettle by its more rounded leaves with coarser, deeper toothing and with the terminal tooth of similar length to the adjacent teeth. The lower leaves are shorter than their longer petioles and have stinging hairs only.[2]: 305 [3]: 36 


The native distribution of Urtica urens includes most of Europe except the British Isles, northern Asia, north and north-west Africa.[4] In the British Isles, Urtica urens is an archaeophyte, an ancient introduction.[5] It has been introduced to all other continents of the world except Antarctica.[4]

Organism interactions[edit]

In Europe, Urtica urens is one of the food plants of the small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae). In New Zealand it is also a food plant for the New Zealand red admiral butterfly (Bassaris gonerilla, syn. Vanessa gonerilla, syn. Papilio gonerilla), and the Australian / New Zealand yellow admiral butterfly (Vanessa itea).[6]


  1. ^ "Annual Nettle, Urtica urens - Flowers - NatureGate".
  2. ^ Stace, C. A. (2019). New Flora of the British Isles (Fourth ed.). Middlewood Green, Suffolk, U.K.: C & M Floristics. ISBN 978-1-5272-2630-2.
  3. ^ Blamey, M.; Fitter, R.; Fitter, A (2003). Wild flowers of Britain and Ireland: The Complete Guide to the British and Irish Flora. London: A & C Black. ISBN 978-1408179505.
  4. ^ a b "Urtica urens L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  5. ^ "Urtica urens". Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Biological Records Centre and Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  6. ^ "A beginners guide to Nettles". users.actrix.co.nz. Archived from the original on 2010-05-23.

External links[edit]

Media related to Urtica urens at Wikimedia Commons