Urticaceae is a small family in Montana, with only 4 species.
Some are annual herbs, others are perennials, then die back
each year and sprout up new growth from an underground root
network. Any large (3 ft tall or more) nettle encountered
is certain to be a form of Urtica dioica (Stinging Nettle).
Worldwide, the family consists of about 40 genera and 1000
species, widely distributed but mainly tropical and subtropical.
In Urticaceae, the plant grows as a large main stem, the leaves
are in opposite pairs, and the flowers concentrate in clusters
from the leaf axils. The flowers do not have petals; male
flowers have a 4-lobed calyx and 4 stamens - the female flowers
are either 4-lobed or 2-lobed and have a pistil that produces
a single seed.
Most species have stinging hairs on the leaves and stems.
The hairs contain a skin-reactive poison that can cause severe
stinging in the affected area that can last for days.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of the
LEAVES LANCE-SHAPED AND
dioica - Stinging Nettle Plant 50-300 cm tall, with
stinging hairs. Moist, rich sites, plains to montane.
Flowers greenish, 1-2 mm long, numerous in hanging clusters
from leaf axils.
Leaves opposite, narrowly lance- to heart-shaped, 4-15 cm long,
Alphabetical listing with links to presented species of the Nettle family: