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Nettle family
Urtica dioica (Blüten).jpg
Urtica dioica (stinging nettle)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Urticaceae
Juss., 1789

Cecropiaceae C. C. Berg[1]

The Urticaceae /ɜːrtˈks/ are a family, the nettle family, of flowering plants. The family name comes from the genus Urtica. The Urticaceae include a number of well-known and useful plants, including the nettles, ramie (Boehmeria nivea), māmaki (Pipturus albidus), and ajlai (Debregeasia saeneb).

The family includes about 2625 species, grouped into 53 genera according to the database of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Christenhusz and Byng (2016).[2] The largest genera are Pilea (500 to 715 species), Elatostema (300 species), Urtica (80 species), and Cecropia (75 species).

Urticaceae species can be found worldwide, apart from the polar regions.


Urticaceae species can be shrubs (e.g. Pilea), lianas, herbs (e.g. Urtica, Parietaria), or, rarely, trees (Dendrocnide, Cecropia). Their leaves are usually entire and bear stipules. Urticating (stinging) hairs are often present. They have usually unisexual flowers and can be both monoecious or dioecious. They are wind-pollinated. Most disperse their pollen when the stamens are mature and their filaments straighten explosively, a peculiar and conspicuously specialised mechanism.


Male and female flower of Urtica

The APG II system puts the Urticaceae in the order Rosales, while older systems consider them part of the Urticales, along with Ulmaceae, Moraceae, and Cannabaceae. APG still considers "old" Urticales a monophyletic group, but does not recognise it as an order on its own.

Genera (partial list)[edit]


The Urticaceae are subject to many bacterial, viral, fungal, and nematode parasitic diseases. Among them are:[4]

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) (2003-01-17). "Family: Urticaceae Juss., nom. cons.". Taxonomy for Plants. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  2. ^ Christenhusz, M. J. M., and Byng, J. W. (2016). "The number of known plants species in the world and its annual increase". Phytotaxa. Magnolia Press. 261 (3): 201–217. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.261.3.1. 
  3. ^ "Metatrophis F. Br.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  4. ^ "Common Names of Plant Diseases: Diseases of Foliage Plants (House Plants): Urticaceae". The American Phytopathological Society. 26 March 1993. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Chase, A. R. (1983). "Influence of host plant and isolate source on Myrothecium leaf spot of foliage plants" (PDF). Plant Disease. 67 (6): 668–671. doi:10.1094/PD-67-668. 
  6. ^ Nguyen, Thu Ha, Mathur, S. B., & Neergaard, Paul (1973). "Seed-borne species of Myrothecium and their pathogenic potential". Transactions of the British Mycological Society. 61 (2): 347–354, IN14–IN16. doi:10.1016/S0007-1536(73)80156-1. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Pignatti, Sandro (1982). Flora d'Italia (in Italian). Bologna: Edagricole. ISBN 88-506-2449-2. 
  • Friis, Ib (1989). Urticaceae. Flora of tropical East Africa. Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 978-90-6191-352-8. 

External links[edit]