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spreading pellitory


Habit Herbs, perennial from crown, 1-8dm. Herbs, annual or perennial, sparsely to densely pubescent with hooked and straight, nonstinging hairs on all parts of plant, stinging hairs absent.

ascending, erect, or decumbent.

often branched from base, erect, ascending, or decumbent.


blades narrowly to broadly elliptic, lance-elliptic, or ovate, 1.3-9 × 0.8-4.5 cm, base attenuate, cuneate, or broadly rounded, apex abruptly acuminate to long-attenuate.

blades deltate, orbiculate to narrowly elliptic, or lanceolate, margins entire;

cystoliths rounded.




involucral bracts 1.5-2.5 mm;

tepals ca. 2-3.5 mm, longer than bracts.

bisexual, staminate, or pistillate, proximal flowers usually bisexual and staminate, distal flowers pistillate;

involucral bracts linear to lanceolate, without hooked hairs;

tepals 4, distinct, ascending, lacking hooked hairs;

stamens 4;

style persistent or not;

stigma tufted, deciduous.


dark brown, symmetric, 1-1.2 × 0.6-0.9 mm, apex acute, mucro absent or minute;

stipe centered, on cylindric base.

stipitate, ovoid, acute or mucronate (style base sometimes persisting as apical or subapical mucro), loosely enclosed by tepals.


=7, 8, 10, 13.

Parietaria judaica


Phenology Flowering all year, with peak in late winter–spring.
Habitat Cracks in sidewalks, ballast heaps, waste places, frequently about ports and coastal areas
Elevation 0-200 m (0-700 ft)
from FNA
CA; FL; LA; MI; NJ; NY; PA; TX; Eurasia; n Africa [Introduced in North America]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from USDA
Primarily in temperate and subtropical regions
[BONAP county map]

Parietaria judaica, which, in North America, is most abundant in scattered localities in California, is the only long-lived perennial species of Parietaria in the flora. Because of confusion in Europe over the correct name, plants in North America have been called P. judaica, P. officinalis of authors, not Linnaeus, P. officinalis var. erecta (Mertens & Koch) Weddell, and P. officinalis var. diffusa (Mertens & Koch) Weddell. For a clarification of the nomenclature and taxonomy of this complex, see C.C. Townsend (1968).

Parietaria judaica was first reported from Louisiana as P. diffusa Mertens & Koch, another name commonly used on herbarium specimens (J.W. Thieret 1969).

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

Species 20-30 (5 in the flora).

Mature achenes are necessary for certain determination.

Parietaria nummularifolia (Schwartz) Weddell was collected once in 1992 in Palm Beach County, Florida, in mesic woods bordering a creek (R.P. Wunderlin, pers. comm.). This species is occasionally cultivated, and the Florida collection probably represents an escape.

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

1. Herbs perennial; achenes dark brown, apex acute, mucro absent or minute.
P. judaica
1. Herbs annual or short-lived perennial; achenes light brown, apex obtuse, mucro distinct, apical or subapical.
→ 2
2. Leaf blades orbiculate to deltate, apex smoothly attenuate or occasionally slightly acuminate; achenes less than 0.9mm, stipes short-cylindric, abruptly flared basally.
P. floridana
2. Leaf blades ovate to narrowly elliptic or lanceolate, or if deltate or orbiculate, then apex acuminate; achenes 0.9mm or more, stipes basally dilated cylinders.
→ 3
3. Mucro subapical; stipe not centered.
P. praetermissa
3. Mucro apical; stipe centered.
→ 4
4. Leaf blades narrowly to very broadly ovate, oblong, orbiculate, or reniform, base rounded; proximal pair of lateral veins arising at junction of blade and petiole; involucral bracts usually more than 2 times length of achene.
P. hespera
4. Leaf blades narrowly to broadly elliptic, lanceolate, oblong, or ovate, base narrowly cuneate; proximal pair of lateral veins arising distal to junction of blade and petiole; involucral bracts usually less than 2 times length of achene.
P. pensylvanica
Source FNA vol. 3. FNA vol. 3.
Parent taxa Urticaceae > Parietaria Urticaceae
Sibling taxa
P. floridana, P. hespera, P. pensylvanica, P. praetermissa
Subordinate taxa
P. floridana, P. hespera, P. judaica, P. pensylvanica, P. praetermissa
Name authority Linnaeus: Fl. Palaest., 32. (1756) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 2: 1052. 175: Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 471. (1754)
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