Wood Nettle, Laportea canadensis, Nettle Family (Urticaceae)
Description: Clusters of small, greenish flowers are in the leaf axils on a stout stem with stinging hairs; female flowers are in loose, elongated clusters in upper ails; male flowers in shorter clusters in lower axils. Flowers: about 1/6″ (4 mm) long; female with 4 sepals, 1 pistil; male with 5 sepals, 5 stamens; petals absent. Leaves: 2-1/2 – 8″ (6.3-20 cm) long, alternate, thin, ovate, long-stalked, coarsely toothed. Fruit: dry seed-like, crescent-shaped. Height: 1-1/2-4′ (45-120 cm).
Habitat: Low woods, streambanks.
Range: Manitoba to Quebec and Nova Scotia; south to Florida; west to Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
Comments: The flowers of the similar Stining Nettle (Urtica dioica), are in tighter, slender axillary clusters and the leaves are oppostie and have heart-shaped bases. This plant is known to penetrate cotton and light pants with its poison. If contact is made with this plant small blisters will appear. To instantly remedy the burns smear mud or wet soil over blister. Do not remove the soil from the blister until the burning sensation is no longer felt.
All flower resources taken from: Niering, William A., Olmstead, Nancy C., National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Wildlowers. 1979, Chanticleer Press, INC.