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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordoo: Rosales

Familia: Urticaceae
Tribus: Boehmerieae – Cecropieae – Elatostemateae – Forsskaoleae – Parietarieae – Urticeae
Genera: ArchiboehmeriaAstrothalamusAustralinaBoehmeriaCecropiaChamabainiaCoussapoaCypholophusDebregeasiaDendrocnideDidymodoxaDiscocnideDroguetiaElatostemaForsskaoleaGesnouiniaGibbsiaGirardiniaGonostegiaGyrotaeniaHaroldiellaHemistylusHesperocnideLaporteaLecanthusLeucosykeMaoutiaMetapileaMetatrophisMusangaMyrianthusMyriocarpaNanocnideNeodistemonNeraudiaNothocnideObetiaOreocnideParietariaParsanaPellioniaPetelotiellaPhenaxPileaPipturusPoikilospermumPouroumaPouzolziaProcrisRousseliaRousseliaSoleiroliaTouchardiaUreraUrticaZhengyia


Urticaceae Juss., Gen. Pl. [Jussieu] 400. (1789), nom. cons. as Urticae

Type genus: Urtica L., Sp. Pl. 2: 983. (1753)


Cecropiaceae C.C.Berg, Taxon 27(1): 39. (1978)
Parietariaceae Bercht. & J.Presl, Přir. Rostlin: 261. (1820)


Jussieu, A.L. de 1789. Genera Plantarum (Jussieu) 400.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Urticaceae in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Nov. 1. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2019. Urticaceae. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Nov. 1. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Urticaceae. Published online. Accessed: Nov. 1 2019.
Reveal, J.L. 2012. An outline of a classification scheme for extant flowering plants. Phytoneuron 2012-37: 1–221. Full text PDF Reference page.
Stevens, P.F. 2001 onwards. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14, July 2017 [and more or less continuously updated since]. Online. Reference page.
Wu, Z.Y., Monro, A.K., Milne, R.I., Wang, H., Yi, T.S., Liu, J. & Li, D.Z. 2013. Molecular phylogeny of the nettle family (Urticaceae) inferred from multiple loci of three genomes and extensive generic sampling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69(3): 814-827. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2013.06.022 Paywall. PDF. Reference page.

Vernacular names
العربية: قراصية
azərbaycanca: Gicitkənkimilər
беларуская: Крапіўныя
български: Копривови
català: Urticàcia
čeština: kopřivovité
dansk: Nælde-familien
Deutsch: Brennnesselgewächse
English: Nettle family
Esperanto: Urtikacoj
eesti: Nõgeselised
فارسی: گزنه‌ایان
suomi: Nokkoskasvit
Nordfriisk: Braannäädelplaanten
hrvatski: Koprivovke
hornjoserbsce: Kopřiwowe rostliny
magyar: Csalánfélék
日本語: イラクサ科
қазақша: Қалақайлар тұқымдасы
한국어: 쐐기풀과
kurdî: Famîleya giyagezkan
кыргызча: Чалкандар
lietuvių: Dilgėliniai
македонски: Коприви
മലയാളം: അർട്ടിക്കേസീ
Nederlands: Brandnetelfamilie
norsk: Neslefamilien
ирон: Пысырахуызтæ
polski: Pokrzywowate
Runa Simi: Kisa yura rikch'aq ayllu
русский: Крапивные
slovenčina: pŕhľavovité
svenska: Nässelväxter
тоҷикӣ: Газнаиҳо
ไทย: วงศ์กะลังตังช้าง
Türkçe: Isırgangiller
татарча/tatarça: Кычытканчалар
українська: Кропивні
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Gazandadoshlar
Tiếng Việt: Họ Tầm ma
中文: 荨麻科

The Urticaceae /ɜːrtɪˈkeɪsiː/ are a family, the nettle family, of flowering plants. The family name comes from the genus Urtica. The Urticaceae include a number of well-known and useful plants, including nettles in the genus Urtica, ramie (Boehmeria nivea), māmaki (Pipturus albidus), and ajlai (Debregeasia saeneb).

The family includes about 2,625 species, grouped into 53 genera according to the database of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Christenhusz and Byng (2016).[2] The largest genera are Pilea (500 to 715 species), Elatostema (300 species), Urtica (80 species), and Cecropia (75 species). Cecropia contains many myrmecophytes.[3]

Urticaceae species can be found worldwide, apart from the polar regions.


Urticaceae species can be shrubs (e.g. Pilea), lianas, herbs (e.g. Urtica, Parietaria), or, rarely, trees (Dendrocnide, Cecropia). Their leaves are usually entire and bear stipules. Urticating (stinging) hairs are often present. They have usually unisexual flowers and can be both monoecious or dioecious. They are wind-pollinated. Most disperse their pollen when the stamens are mature and their filaments straighten explosively, a peculiar and conspicuously specialised mechanism.
Male and female flower of Urtica

The APG II system puts the Urticaceae in the order Rosales, while older systems consider them part of the Urticales, along with Ulmaceae, Moraceae, and Cannabaceae. APG still considers "old" Urticales a monophyletic group, but does not recognise it as an order on its own.
Fossil record

The fossil record of Urticaceae is scattered and mostly based on dispersed fruits. Twelve species based on fossil achenes are known from the Late Cretaceous of Central Europe. Most were assigned to the extant genera Boehmeria (three species), Debregeasia (one species) and Pouzolzia (three species), while three species were assigned to the extinct genus Urticoidea.[4] A Colombian fossil flora of the Maastrichtian stage has yielded leaves that resemble leaves of the tribe Ceropieae.[5] In the Cenozoic fossil leaves from the Ypresian Allenby Formation preserve distinct trichomes, and have been attributed to the Tribe Urticeae in the fossil record. The leaves had originally been identified as Rubus by earlier workers on the Eocene Okanagan Highlands, but Devore et al (2020) interpreted the preserved hairs along the stem and major veins as stinging trichomes, rather than simple hairs or thorns.[6]

Modern molecular phylogenetics suggest the following relationships[7][8] (see also [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]):
Tribes and genera

Boehmerieae Gaudich. 1830
Archiboehmeria C.J. Chen 1980 (1 sp.)
Astrothalamus C.B. Rob. 1911 (1 sp.)
Boehmeria Jacq. 1760 (80 spp.)
Chamabainia Wight 1853 (1–2 spp.)
Cypholophus Wedd. 1854 (15 spp.)
Debregeasia Gaudich. 1844 (4 spp.)
Gibbsia Rendle 1917 (2 spp.)
Gonostegia Turcz. 1846 (5 spp.)
Hemistylus Benth. 1843 (4 spp.)
Neodistemon Babu & A. N. Henry 1970 (1 sp.)
Neraudia Gaudich. 1830 (5 spp.)
Nothocnide Blume 1856 (4 spp.)
Oreocnide Miq. 1851 (15 spp.)
Phenax Wedd. 1854 (12 spp.)
Pipturus Wedd. 1854 (30 spp.)
Pouzolzia Gaudich. 1826 [1830] (70 spp.)
Rousselia Gaudich. 1826 [1830] (3 spp.)
Sarcochlamys Gaudich. 1844 (1 sp.)
Cecropieae Gaudich. 1830
Cecropia Loefl. 1758 (70–80 spp.)
Coussapoa Aubl. 1775 (>50 spp.)
Leucosyke Zoll. & Moritzi 1845 (35 spp.)
Maoutia Wedd. 1854 (15 spp.)
Musanga R. Br. in Tuckey 1818 (2 spp.)
Myrianthus P. Beauv. 1804 [1805] (7 spp.)
Pourouma Aubl. 1775 (>50 spp.)
Elatostemateae Gaudich. 1830
Aboriella Bennet (1 sp.)
Achudemia Blume 1856
Elatostema J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. 1775 (300 spp.)
Gyrotaenia Griseb. 1861 (4 spp.)
Lecanthus Wedd. 1854 (1 sp.)
Meniscogyne Gagnep. 1928 (2 spp.)
Myriocarpa Benth. 1844 [1846] (18 spp.)
Pellionia Gaudich. 1826 (60 spp.)
Petelotiella Gagnep. in Lecomte 1929 (1 spp.)
Pilea Lindl. 1821 (250 spp.)
Procris Comm. ex Juss. 1789 (20 spp.)
Sarcopilea Urb. 1912 (1 sp.)

Forsskaoleeae Gaudich. 1830
Australina Gaudich. 1830 (2 spp.)
Didymodoxa E. Mey. ex Wedd. 1857 (2 spp.)
Droguetia Gaudich. 1830 (7 spp.)
Forsskaolea L. 1764 (6 spp.)
Parietarieae Gaudich. 1830
Gesnouinia Gaudich. 1830 (2 spp.)
Parietaria L. 1753 (20 spp.)
Soleirolia Gaudich. 1830 (1 sp.)

Urticeae Lamarck & DC. 1806
Dendrocnide Miq. 1851 (27 spp.)
Discocnide Chew 1965 (1 sp.)
Girardinia Gaudich. 1830 (2 spp.)
Hesperocnide Torr. 1857 (2 spp.)
Laportea Gaudich. 1826 [1830] (21 spp.)
Nanocnide Blume 1856 (2 spp.)
Obetia Gaudich. 1844 (7 spp.)
Poikilospermum Zipp. ex Miq. 1864 (20 spp.)
Touchardia Gaudich. 1847 (1–2 spp.)
Urera Gaudich. 1826 [1830] (35 spp.)
Urtica L. 1753—nettle (80 spp.)
Zhengyia T. Deng, D.G. Zhang & H. Sun 2013 (1 sp.)[19]
Incertae sedis
Metatrophis F. Br. 1935 (1 sp.)
Parsana Parsa & Maleki 1952 (1 sp.)


The Urticaceae are subject to many bacterial, viral, fungal, and nematode parasitic diseases. Among them are:[20]

Bacterial leaf spot, caused by Xanthomonas campestris which affects Pellionia, Pilea, and other genera
Anthracnose, a fungal disease caused by Colletotrichum capsici which affects Pilea
Myrothecium leaf spot, a fungal disease caused by Myrothecium roridum which affects plants throughout the Urticaceae, as well as other angiosperms[21][22]
Phytophthora blight, a water mold disease caused by Phytophthora nicotianae which affects Pilea
Southern blight, a fungal disease caused by Athelia rolfsii which affects both Pellionia and Pilea

Image gallery

Pilea cadierei

Pilea pumila

Dendrocnide sp.

Elatostema umbellatum

Urtica dioica

Boehmeria nivea

Parietaria judaica flowers

Urtica dioica stinging hairs


Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) (2003-01-17). "Family: Urticaceae Juss., nom. cons". Taxonomy for Plants. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
Christenhusz, M. J. M., and Byng, J. W. (2016). "The number of known plants species in the world and its annual increase". Phytotaxa. 261 (3): 201–217. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.261.3.1.
Chomicki G, Renner SS. (2015). "Phylogenetics and molecular clocks reveal the repeated evolution of ant-plants after the late Miocene in Africa and the early Miocene in Australasia and the Neotropics". New Phytologist. 207 (2): 411–424. doi:10.1111/nph.13271. PMID 25616013.
Else Marie Friis, Peter R. Crane, Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen (18 Aug 2011). Early Flowers and Angiosperm Evolution. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521592833.
Treiber, E. L.; Gaglioti, A. L.; Romaniuc-Neto, S.; Madriñán, S.; Weiblen, G. D. (2016). "Phylogeny of the Cecropieae (Urticaceae) and the evolution of an ant-plant mutualism". Systematic Botany. 41 (1): 56–66. doi:10.1600/036364416X690633. S2CID 28743975.
DeVore, M. L.; Nyandwi, A.; Eckardt, W.; Bizuru, E.; Mujawamariya, M.; Pigg, K. B. (2020). "Urticaceae leaves with stinging trichomes were already present in latest early Eocene Okanogan Highlands, British Columbia, Canada". American Journal of Botany. 107 (10): 1449–1456. doi:10.1002/ajb2.1548. PMID 33091153. S2CID 225050834.
Wu Z-Y, Monro AK, Milne RI, Wang H, Liu J, Li D-Z. (2013). "Molecular phylogeny of the nettle family (Urticaceae) inferred from multiple loci of three genomes and extensive generic sampling". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 69 (3): 814–827. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.06.022. PMID 23850510.
Wu Z-Y, Milne RI, Chen C-J, Liu J, Wang H, Li D-Z. (2015). "Ancestral state reconstruction reveals rampant homoplasy of diagnostic morphological characters in Urticaceae, conflicting with current classification schemes". PLoS ONE. 10 (11): e0141821. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141821. PMC 4631448. PMID 26529598.
Sytsma KJ, Morawetz J, Pires JC, Morden CW. (2000). "Phylogeny of the Urticales based on three molecular data sets, with emphasis on relationships within Urticaceae". American Journal of Botany. 87 (6): 162.
Sytsma KJ, Morawetz J, Pires C, Nepokroeff M, Conti E, Zjhra M, Hall JC, Chase MW. (2002). "Urticalean rosids: Circumscription, rosid ancestry, and phylogenetics based on rbcL, trnL–F, and ndhF sequences" (PDF). American Journal of Botany. 89 (9): 1531–1546. doi:10.3732/ajb.89.9.1531. PMID 21665755.
Hadiah JT, Quinn CJ, Conn BJ. (2003). "Phylogeny of Elatostema (Urticaceae) using chloroplast DNA data". Telopea. 10 (1): 235–246. doi:10.7751/telopea20035618.
Datwyler SL, Weiblen G. (2004). "On the origin of the fig: Phylogenetic relationships of Moraceae from ndhF sequences". American Journal of Botany. 91 (5): 767–777. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.5.767. PMID 21653431.
Zerega NJC, Clement WL, Datwyler SL, Weiblen GD. (2005). "Biogeography and divergence times in the mulberry family (Moraceae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37 (2): 402–416. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.004. PMID 16112884.
Monro AK. (2006). "The revision of species-rich genera: A phylogenetic framework for the strategic revision of Pilea (Urticaceae) based on cpDNA, nrDNA, and morphology". American Journal of Botany. 93 (3): 426–441. doi:10.3732/ajb.93.3.426. PMID 21646202.
Hadiah JT, Conn BJ, Quinn CJ (2008). "Infra-familial phylogeny of Urticaceae, using chloroplast sequence data". Australian Systematic Botany. 21 (5): 375–385. doi:10.1071/SB08041.
Conn BJ, Hadiah JT (2009). "Nomenclature of tribes within the Urticaceae". Kew Bulletin. 64 (2): 349–352. doi:10.1007/s12225-009-9108-4. JSTOR 20649663. S2CID 10761027.
Kim C, Deng T, Chase M, Zhang D-G, Nie Z-L, Sun H. (2015). "Generic phylogeny and character evolution in Urticeae (Urticaceae) inferred from nuclear and plastid DNA regions". Taxon. 64 (1): 65–78. doi:10.12705/641.20.
Treiber EL, Gaglioti EL, Romaniuc-Neto S, Madriñán S, Weiblen GD. (2016). "Phylogeny of the Cecropieae (Urticaceae) and the evolution of an ant–plant mutualism". Systematic Botany. 41 (1): 56–66. doi:10.1600/036364416X690633. S2CID 28743975.
Deng Tao, Kim C, Zhang D-G, Zhang J-W, Li Z-M, Nie Z-L, Sun H. (2013). "Zhengyia shennongensis: A new bulbiliferous genus and species of the nettle family (Urticaceae) from central China exhibiting parallel evolution of the bulbil trait". Taxon. 62 (1): 89–99. doi:10.1002/tax.621008. JSTOR 24389315.
"Common Names of Plant Diseases: Diseases of Foliage Plants (House Plants): Urticaceae". The American Phytopathological Society. 26 March 1993. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011.
Chase, A. R. (1983). "Influence of host plant and isolate source on Myrothecium leaf spot of foliage plants" (PDF). Plant Disease. 67 (6): 668–671. doi:10.1094/PD-67-668.

Nguyen, Thu Ha, Mathur, S. B., & Neergaard, Paul (1973). "Seed-borne species of Myrothecium and their pathogenic potential". Transactions of the British Mycological Society. 61 (2): 347–354, IN14–IN16. doi:10.1016/S0007-1536(73)80156-1.

Further reading
Pignatti, Sandro (1982). Flora d'Italia (in Italian). Bologna: Edagricole. ISBN 978-88-506-2449-2.
Friis, Ib (1989). Urticaceae. Flora of tropical East Africa. Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 978-90-6191-352-8.

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