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false-nettle, small-spike false nettle

Chinese grass, ramie

Habit Herbs or subshrubs, 1-16 dm. Shrubs or subshrubs, 2(-3) m.

blades elliptic, lanceolate to broadly ovate, 5-18 × 2-10 cm, almost glabrous on both surfaces or abaxially densely short-pilose or puberulent, adaxially scabrous.

blades broadly ovate to nearly orbiculate, 8-15 × 5-12 cm, abaxial surface densely white-tomentose, adaxial surface slightly scabrous.


spikelike, often leafy at apex.

panicles of moniliform (beaded) clusters, branches not leafy at apex; staminate flowers in proximal leaf axils, pistillate flowers in distil axils.


in remote or crowded clusters of 1-few staminate and several pistillate flowers or rarely staminate and pistillate flowers on different plants.


ovoid to nearly orbicular, 0.9-1.6 × 0.9-1.2 mm, almost glabrous or pubescent with straight and hooked hairs;

seeds prominent, conspicuous in outline, surrounded except at base by corky tissue.

compressed or lenticular, ovoid or ellipsoid, ca. 1.5 × ca. 0.9 mm, pubescent with straight or slightly curved hairs, uniformly smooth;

seeds not conspicuous in outline, corky tissue absent.


= 28.

Boehmeria cylindrica

Boehmeria nivea

Phenology Flowering summer–fall. Flowering late summer–fall.
Habitat Alluvial or moist, deciduous woods, swamps, bogs, marshes, wet meadows, ditches Roadsides, waste places, vacant lots, cultivated fields, along Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains
Elevation 0-1800 m (0-5900 ft) 0-200 m (0-700 ft)
from FNA
AL; AR; AZ; CT; DC; DE; FL; GA; IA; IL; IN; KS; KY; LA; MA; MD; ME; MI; MN; MO; MS; NC; NE; NH; NJ; NM; NY; OH; OK; PA; RI; SC; SD; TN; TX; UT; VA; VT; WI; WV; NB; ON; QC; Mexico; Central America; West Indies; Bermuda; South America (Argentina, s Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela)
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
AL; FL; GA; LA; SC; TX; VA; Central America; Asia [Introduced in North America]
[BONAP county map]

Populations of Boehmeria cylindrica are disjunct in South America.

Plants with thick, often drooping, lanceolate leaf blades, more or less pilose or puberulent abaxially, scabrous adaxially, with short petioles, pilose or puberulent stems, and densely pubescent achenes have been called Boehmeria cylindrica var. drummondiana. These plants are found mostly, but not exclusively, in the southeastern United States and are totally sympatric with more typical plants. The above characteristics may or may not occur together, and each grades into the state found in more typical plants through abundant intermediates. Field and experimental studies are needed to clarify the biologic basis of this variation.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Boehmeria nivea, ramie, is an important source of fiber in Asia and was introduced into the United States in 1855 as a commercial crop. The fibers are exceptionally strong but difficult to extract.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 3. FNA vol. 3.
Parent taxa Urticaceae > Boehmeria Urticaceae > Boehmeria
Sibling taxa
B. nivea
B. cylindrica
Synonyms Urtica cylindrica, B. cylindrica var. drummondiana, B. decurrens, B. drummondiana, B. scabra Urtica nivea, Ramium niveum
Name authority (Linnaeus) Swartz: Prodr., 34. (1788) (Linnaeus) Gaudichaud Beaupré: Voy. Uranie 12: 499. (1830)
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