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Laportea canadensis

Previously known as:

  • Urtica canadensis
Phonetic Spelling
lah-POR-tee-ah kan-ah-DEN-sis
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Wood nettle is a native erect perennial herb in the Urticaceae family .   Found naturally in forests or natural areas in rich woods, moist bottomlands of rivers and streams.

It thrives in rich moist soils with partial to deep shade.  The plant grows in dense large sweeping areas to a height of 2 to 4 feet.  Propagate it by seed or by dividing its spreading rhizomes in the spring.  With conspicuous stinging hairs on the above-ground parts of this plant, it is well known for its ability to cause painful contact dermatitis.  Wear gloves when handling this plant though the stinging and burning usually subsites in about an hour.  

It may not be an ideal choice for a heavily managed landscape but the dense thickets provide cover for wildlife and this plant also a great larval host plant for butterflies.  It would work well in a boundary planting, a woodland garden, or planted along a slope or in a riparian area.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This plant is used by many beneficial insects and so may get some galls on the leaves or flowers though they may look alarming, are harmless.  

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#perennials#wildlife plant#cover plant#stream banks#NC native#native garden#edible garden#edible leaves#larval host plant#edible stems#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#woodland garden#eastern comma butterfly#red admiral butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#perennials#wildlife plant#cover plant#stream banks#NC native#native garden#edible garden#edible leaves#larval host plant#edible stems#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#woodland garden#eastern comma butterfly#red admiral butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Laportea
    Species:
    canadensis
    Family:
    Urticaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Fibers were extracted and woven into fabric by indigenous people.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & East Canada to Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant provides cover for wildlife is a larval host plant for butterflies. The Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) appear as overwintered adults from spring until the end of April and they lay eggs. The summer form emerges from May-September and lays the winter form. These adults appear in September and find a location to overwinter for the next year. Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) have two broods from March-October, they overwinter from October-March in southern Texas.
    Edibility:
    Only collect young shoots in the spring. Wear gloves and soak young shoots and leaves in clean water to remove dirt. To remove the stinging hairs blanch, steam, boil in salted water, or chop up and saute. Serve in soups or as a green vegetable. Crowhurst, A. 1972. The Weed Cookbook. Lancer Books, Inc. New York, 190 pp.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Description:
    Black, dry shiny seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Self-fertile, separate male and female flowers are inconspicuous appear in the summer. Male flowers are shorter, less than 1/8" across white to green with 5 petals. Female flowers are loose and lacy with 4 green sepals that resemble curly leaves in longer clusters and clustered at the top of the plant.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Medium to dark green, alternate, simple, ovate coarsely toothed 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. Young leaves are covered in stinging hairs older leaves tend to have hairs concentrated on the bottom surface.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stinging hairs are white on medium green stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    Spines/Thorns
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    SKIN IRRITATION MINOR, OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Contact with the stinging hairs causes intense burning, itching, or stinging lasting usually less than an hour.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Mixture of chemicals, not well understood
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Stems