Urtica dioica L.
  • Sp. Pl.
  • Nettle

Cite taxon page as 'WFO (2021): Urtica dioica L. Published on the Internet;http://www.worldfloraonline.org/taxon/wfo-0000416616. Accessed on: 26 Sep 2021'

General Information

Herbs perennial, dioecious, rarely monoecious. Rhizomes woody, stoloniferous. Stems simple or few branched, 40-100 cm tall; stems and petioles often densely or sometimes sparsely covered with stinging and setulose hairs. Stipules free, linear, (2-)5-8 mm; petiole 2.5-4 cm; leaf blade ovate, sometimes lanceolate, 5-13 × 2.5-6 cm, often herbaceous, (3-)5-veined, lateral basal veins reaching distal margin and anastomosing, secondary veins 3-5 each side, adaxial surface sparsely covered with stinging and setulose hairs, abaxial surface often densely covered with long, stinging and setulose hairs along veins, base cordate, margin coarsely 15-21-serrate or -dentate, teeth often incurved-tipped, apex acuminate or long acuminate; cystoliths punctiform. Inflorescences paniculate, 3-7 cm; female inflorescences with slender axes, often drooping in fruit. Male flowers in bud ca. 1.4 mm; perianth lobes connate 1/2 of length, puberulent. Female flowers: perianth lobes connate at 1/4 of lower part, dorsal-ventral lobes elliptic-ovate, 1.2-1.5 mm, sparingly setulose, lateral lobes narrowly elliptic, 2-3 × as long as the dorsal ones, Achene brownish gray, ovoid or narrowly ovoid, slightly compressed, 1-1.2(-1.4) mm, smooth, invested by persistent perianth lobes. Fl. Jun-Aug, fr. Aug-Sep.

  • Provided by: [E].Flora Of CHina @ efloras.org
    • Source: [
    • 2
    • ]. 

    Herbs , perennial, rhizomatous, 5-30 dm. Stems simple or branched, erect or sprawling. Leaf blades elliptic, lanceolate, or narrowly to broadly ovate, 6-20 × 2-13 cm, base rounded to cordate, margins coarsely serrate, sometimes doubly serrate, apex acute or acuminate; cystoliths rounded. Inflorescences paniculate, pedunculate, elongate. Flowers unisexual, staminate and pistillate on same or different plants, staminate ascending, the pistillate lax or recurved. Pistillate flowers: outer tepals linear to narrowly spatulate or lanceolate, 0.8-1.2 mm, inner tepals ovate to broadly ovate, 1.4-1.8 × 1.1-1.3 mm. Achenes ovoid to broadly ovoid, 1-1.3(-1.4) × 0.7-0.9 mm.

  • Provided by: [G].Flora of North America @ efloras.org
    • Source: [
    • 3
    • ]. 

    2. Urtica dioica L., Sp. Pl. 984 (1753). Lectotipo (designado por Woodland, 1982): Herb. Linn. 1111.8 (LINN!). Ilustr.: no se encontró.

    Por M. Weigend y A.K. Monro.

  • Provided by: [I].Flora Mesoamericana
    • Source: [
    • 4
    • 1
    • ]. 

    "Erect, rhizomatous perennial, usually simple, to 2 m; lvs serrate, acute or acuminate, 5–15 cm; stipules lance-linear, 5–15 mm; infls branched, many-fld, commonly exceeding the subtending petioles; fruiting cal 2 mm, pubescent; achene ovate, 1.5 mm. Nearly cosmopolitan, either as a native or an intr. sp., and highly variable. June–Sept. Var. dioica, native to Europe but well established in our range, is dioecious, weak-stemmed, and rather densely hairy, with mostly broadly ovate, cordate-based lvs with stinging hairs on both sides, and with the teeth commonly 5–6 mm deep; 2n=52. Var. procera (Muhl.) Wedd., the native phase, is usually monoecious, stouter and more sparsely hairy, with ovate to lance-oblong lvs that are seldom cordate at the base, with the stinging hairs commonly confined to the lower surface, and with the teeth averaging 2–3.5 mm deep; 2n=26 in ours. (U. gracilis; U. viridis)"

  • Provided by: [H].New York Botanical Garden
    • Source: [
    • 5
    • ]. 

    Dioecious, perennial, 50-150 cm herb with a dense indumentum of stinging hairs. Stem angled. Leaves with 1.5-4 cm long petiole; lamina narrowly lanceolate to ovate, 5-12 cm long, 2.5-8 cm broad, cordate at the base, margin serrate, apex acute-acuminate; stipules free lateral, oblong-lanceolate, 8-12 mm long, ciliate. Racemes of cymes axillary, often longer than the subtending petiole, densely appressed pubescent, with scattered stinging hairs. Flowers pale-greenish, or whitish, bracteate; bracts of male flowers smaller than those of female flowers. Sepals pubescent. Achenes up to c. 1.5 mm long, ovoid-ellipsoid, pale green or greenish-brown.

  • Provided by: [F].Flora of Pakistan
    • Source: [
    • 10
    • ]. 


    Bis über 1 m hoch, mehrjährig, dunkelgrün. Stängel und Blätter mit Brennhaaren, daneben noch kürzere Haare. Blätter länglich-herzförmig, meist über 5 cm lang, grob gezähnt. Zweihäusig. Blütenstände hängend, länger als die Blattstiele.

  • Provided by: [D].Flora Helvetica – Illustrierte Flora der Schweiz
    • Source: [
    • 6
    • ]. 

    Erect perennial herb up to 1 m high, growing from horizontal, ± woody rhizome, dioecious. Stems almost always with dense stinging hairs; stiff hairs present or absent. Leaves lanceolate, (20-)50-150 x (12-)25-90 mm, apical tooth shorter to longer than broad, margin with 11-25 pairs of teeth, with stinging hairs scattered on upper surface or absent, and on veins below, with stiff hairs densely scattered below; petiole (5-)10-40 mm long, with dense stinging hairs, with or without stiff hairs; stipules oblong to broadly lanceolate, 2-6 x 1-3 mm, acute to nearly obtuse, membranous, with up to 5 parallel veins. Inflorescence lax, drooping, with cymose clusters of subsessile flowers, up to 90 mm long; peduncle up to 15 mm long. Female flowers with hairs as in key, 1.0-1.5 mm long; pedicel with stinging and stiff hairs. Male flowers with stiff hairs, 1.25-1.5 mm in diameter. Achenes ovoid, laterally compressed to lenticular, with a raised central area on each face, smooth or minutely punctate, pale ochre.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 7
    • ]. 

    Dioecious perennial herb, up to 1 m tall, with a ± woody rhizome, usually with dense stinging hairs on stems and leaves. Leaves petiolate, lanceolate, truncate to ± cordate at base, margin toothed. Flowers in lax, slender, drooping, cymose clusters, small, whitish, tepals of females hairy on backs. Achenes ovoid, pale ochre.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 8
    • ]. 


    6–9. Nitratreiche Böden: Schuttplätze, Gebüsche, Viehläger, kollin-subalpin(-alpin). CH.

  • Provided by: [D].Flora Helvetica – Illustrierte Flora der Schweiz
    • Source: [
    • 6
    • ]. 


    In shade near water.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 8
    • ]. 

    Grows near rivers and along paths in forest, and on rocky mountain slopes, presumably with some shade.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 7
    • ]. 


    An introduced weed in southern Africa, recorded mainly from the Great Karoo of the Western and Eastern Cape, with a single record from the Northern Cape; originally from Europe.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 7
    • ]. 

    Roggeveld Escarpment to E Cape, native to Europe.

  • Provided by: [B].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 8
    • ]. 

    Distribution Map

    • Native distribution
    • Introduced distribution
    Found in
    • Europe Northern Europe Ireland
    Introduced into
    • Southern America Brazil Alagoas
    • Bahia
    • Paraába
    • Pernambuco
    • Rio Grande do Norte
    • Sergipe
    • Paraní
    • Rio Grande do Sul
    • Santa Catarina
    • Espirito Santo
    • Minas Gerais
    • Rio de Janeiro
    • São Paulo

    Nationally Preferred Names


    Other Local Names

    Ortica comuneItalianCH
    Cál faicheIrishIE
    Neannta buidheIrishIE
    Grosse BrennnesselGermanCH
    Ortie dioïqueFrenchCH
    Stinging nettle, ortie
    Urticla grondaRaeto-RomanceCH
    Neanntóg loiscneachIrishIE

     Information From

    MBG Floras Images
    Flora images. Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed on Jun. 2018.
    • A Missouri Botanical Garden
    e-Flora of South Africa
    e-Flora of South Africa. v1.21. 2018. South African National Biodiversity Institute. http://ipt.sanbi.org.za/iptsanbi/resource?r=flora_descriptions&v=1.21
    • B All Rights Reserved
    Brazilian Flora 2020 project - Projeto Flora do Brasil 2020
    Brazil Flora G (2014): Brazilian Flora 2020 project - Projeto Flora do Brasil 2020. v393.147. Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro. Dataset/Checklist. doi:10.15468/1mtkaw
    • C Group Brazil Flora, REFLORA Program
    Flora Helvetica – Illustrierte Flora der Schweiz
    Flora Helvetica – Illustrierte Flora der Schweiz, Konrad Lauber, Gerhart Wagner, Andreas Gygax. Haupt Verlag 2018.
    • D All Rights Reserved
    Flora Of CHina @ efloras.org
    'Flora of China @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2 [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
    • E Missouri Botanical Garden
    Flora of Pakistan
    Flora of Pakistan. Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed on Jun. 2020.
    • F Missouri Botanical Garden
    Flora of North America @ efloras.org
    'Flora of North America @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1 [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
    • G Flora of North America Association
    New York Botanical Garden
    Descriptions of plants should be attributed to the full citation for each individual article, chapter or book that is the source for each record, which should include the authors of original publication.
    • H Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
    Flora Mesoamericana
    Gerrit Davidse, Mario Sousa Sánchez, A. O. Chater, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Instituto de Biología, Missouri Botanical Garden, Natural History Museum (London, England) UNAM, 1994
    • I Missouri Botanical Garden
    Irish Vernacular Names
    • J All Rights Reserved
    International Union for Conservation of Nature v.3
    IUCN 2019. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2019-1.
    • K See IUCN Terms and conditions of use http://www.iucnredlist.org/info/terms-of-use
    International Union for Conservation of Nature
    IUCN 2016. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2
    • L All Rights Reserved
    • M CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    World Flora Online consortium
    World Flora Online Data. 2018.
    • N CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).