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Laportea canadensis

Laportea canadensis (L.) Weddell

Urtica canadensis L.

Urticastrum divaricatum (L.) Kuntze

Wood Nettle

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderUrticalesIncludes cannabis, nettles, mulberries, elms, others
FamilyUrticaceaeNettle family
GenusLaporteaFor Francois L. de Laporte, Count of Castelnau, Entomologist of the 19th century
Speciescanadensis“Of or referring to Canada”

About plant names...

Wood nettle is native to North America.

Identification: Plants are 24-48" (60-121 cm) high, found in moist woods. Their stems have stiff white hairs that sting if you rub against them, producing a rash and a strong burning sensation that usually lasts about an hour. Leaves are alternate, up to 4" (10 cm) × 6" (15 cm), egg-shaped, with coarse serrations. Flowers are greenish-white, appearing from July to September. See this article by Steve Brill on distinguishing among nettles and related plants.

Edibility: The young leaves are edible, nutritious, and delicious, like spinach. Cooking destroys the small stinging barbs on the leaves, but use gloves when harvesting the plants. Boiling doesn’t work well, but steaming produces good results.

 

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

9/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

8/16/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 10" (16 × 25 cm)

Here are some similar species:
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Laportea canadensis

Acalypha rhomboidea

Pilea pumila
Common Name

Wood Nettle

Three-seeded Mercury

Clearweed
Plant 24-48" (60-121 cm) high. Stems have stiff white hairs that sting if you rub against them. 6-24" (15-60 cm) tall, with a stem that is hairless or covered with fine white hairs. Bracts beneath flowers, stems, and leaf undersides turn copper-colored. 6-24" (15-60 cm) high, with smooth, round, translucent stems. They do not have stinging hairs.
Flowers Greenish-white, appearing from July to September. Flowers are greenish-tan, and tiny—less than ⅛" (3.2 mm) across. They flower from July to October. Both male and female flowers are on each plant. Fowers are ⅛" (3.2 mm) long, greenish-white or greenish-yellow, hanging in narrow bunches from the axils of the upper leaves.
Leaves Alternating, up to 4" (10 cm) × 6" (15 cm), egg-shaped, with coarse serrations. Leaves are alternate, lance-like or oval with sharp tips, 3½" (8.9 cm) × 1" (2.5 cm), with blunt serrations. Leaves occur in opposite pairs, each 1-5" (2.5-12 cm) long by ½-2½" (1.3-6.3 cm) wide. Leaves are oval-shaped and coarse-toothed, with three prominent veins and textured leaves. The leaves are bright green, usually shiny, and become yellow in the fall.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Moist woods, streambanks. Open woods, moist soils, gravel bars, waste ground, roadsides, railroads. Wet upland or floodplain forests, crevices in rocky canyons, and shady wetlands, streambanks.
Type Wild Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Laportea canadensis on Missouriplants.com

Laportea canadensis at Illinois Wildflowers

Laportea canadensis at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site

Laportea canadensis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Laportea canadensis at Minnesota Wildflowers

Nettles and related plants on www.wildmanstevebrill.com

Laportea canadensis at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Laportea canadensis at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Laportea canadensis on eFloras

References:

Newcomb, Lawrence, Morrison, Gordon (Illus.), Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Little, Brown and Company, 1977, p. 416

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

9/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm) ID is uncertain

Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

9/29/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm) ID is uncertain

Laportea canadensis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Nov 2013.

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Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle)

9/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

About this map...