Laportea canadensis (Canadian Wood Nettle)
|Also known as:
|part shade, shade; moist woods, floodplains
|July - August
|18 to 40 inches
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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There are separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The female flowers are green with 4 sepals of unequal size and look more like tiny curly leaves with feathery edges than flowers. They are in erect or flat branching clusters at the top of the plant.
The male flowers are in loose branching clusters that arise from the leaf axils starting about midway up the plant. Individual flowers are less than 1/8 inch across, white to greenish with 5 tiny petals.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are oval to egg-shaped, to 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, with serrated edges, a sharply pointed tip and a long stalk. Stalks are sparsely covered in stinging hairs and leaf surfaces may also have sparse, stinging hairs. Attachment is alternate. The stem is unbranched and variously covered in stinging hairs.
Wood Nettle tends to grow in pretty sizable patches and can be a painful plant, though the stinging doesn't last long. Wood Nettle is not to be confused with Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), which has narrower leaves oppositely attached. False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) is another similar species, but it is hairless, its flower clusters are unbranched, and its leaves are also opposite. Wood Nettle is a host plant for a number of insects and butterflies and it is not unusual to see small egg-shaped or round, berry-like galls on the leaves or flower clusters.
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- Wood Nettle plants
- a patch of Wood Nettle in spring
- a patch of Wood Nettle in mid-summer
- Wood Nettle berries? No - insect galls
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Chisago and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?