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[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > Plantae > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > [[]] > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > [[]] > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > [[]] > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Urticaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > [[{{{genus}}}]] {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} {{{species}}} {{{subspecies}}} var. {{{cultivar}}}

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Urticaceae (from the genus Urtica, the classical Latin name of the plant, signifying to burn). Nettle Family. Fig. 17. Herbs, shrubs or trees, rarely climbing: leaves alternate or opposite: flowers unisexual, regular; perianth single, rarely 0, usually green, consisting of 4-5, rarely 2-3, separate or united parts, imbricated or valvate; stamens as many, and opposite the segments, inflexed and uncoiling elastically; ovary sessile, or pedicelled, or rarely united with the perianth, 1-celled, 1-ovuled; style 1; stigma feathery: fruit an achene or drupe; seeds basal, orthotropous; embryo straight.

The 41 genera and about 475 species are mainly tropical, a few in North America and fewer in Europe. The largest genus is Pilea, with 100 species. The family is very closely related to the Moraceae and Ulmaceae, with which it was formerly united. The apetalous anemophilous flowers, with elastic stamens opposite the sepals, and the 1-celled ovary, with a single basal, orthotropous seed, are distinctive. Many of the Urticaceae are covered with stinging hairs containing formic acid. The common nettles are examples. Cystoliths are common in the leaves.

Parietaria diffusa and P. erecta contain niter, and have been used as diuretics. Nettles were used by doctors to flog patients in order to produce a counter irritation of the skin, a practice called "urtication." Other species have been used locally as medicine. Laportea Stimulans has been used as a fish-poison. The bast fibers of many species are useful; e.g., Urtica dioica, U. cannabina, Laportea canadensis, and especially the China grass or ramie (Boehmeria nivea). The fibers of this latter have long been used in the Netherlands. The young foliage of many Urticaceae is used as spinach. The tuberous root of Pouzolzia tuberosa is eaten.

The following are in cultivation in America; three of them are ornamental: Pellionia, a greenhouse creeper; Pilea (Artillery Plant), a garden and greenhouse plant; and Urera, a greenhouse shrub. The other genus, Urtica (Nettle), is grown for fiber, and Boehmeria occurs occasionally in cultivation.CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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