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Laportea canadensis (Canadian woodnettle)
Brundage, Stephanie

Laportea canadensis

Laportea canadensis (L.) Weddell

Canadian Woodnettle, Wood Nettle

Urticaceae (Nettle Family)

Synonym(s): Urtica canadensis, Urticastrum divaricatum

USDA Symbol: LACA3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

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 axils; male flowers in shorter clusters in lower axils.

The flowers of the similar Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) are in tighter, more slender axillary clusters and the leaves are opposite and have heart-shaped bases.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Manitoba to Quebec and Nova Scotia; south to Florida; west to Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
Native Habitat: Low woods, streambanks.


Use Food: Young shoots eaten as potherb. Boiling destroys irritant. Add to stews or soups. Collect the young shoots in the spring. Wear gloves while collecting shoots; the shoots can cause a stinging effect. Place young shoots in boiling, salted water (with a pair of kitchen tongs) and boil for five minutes. Serve as a vegetable or add to soups. The stinging quality disappears after cooking (Poisonous Plants of N.C.).
Use Other: Inner fibers extracted and woven into flax-like fabric by indigenous people.
Warning: Stinging hairs on all parts. Skin irritation if handled. Symptoms include intense burning and itching or stinging lasting usually less than an hour.
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Red Admiral

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Red Admiral
(Vanessa atalanta)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 663 - Poisonous Plants of North Carolina (1994) Vondracek, W. ; L. Van Asch
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Laportea canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Laportea canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Laportea canadensis


Record Modified: 2019-03-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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