The green links below add additional plants to the comparison table. Blue links lead to other Web sites.
enable glossary links

common nettle, stinging nettle

Habit Herbs, perennial, rhizomatous, 5-30 dm.

simple or branched, erect or sprawling.


blades elliptic, lanceolate, or narrowly to broadly ovate, 6-20 × 2-13 cm, base rounded to cordate, margins coarsely serrate, sometimes doubly serrate, apex acute or acuminate;

cystoliths rounded.


paniculate, pedunculate, elongate.


unisexual, staminate and pistillate on same or different plants, staminate ascending, the pistillate lax or recurved.

Pistillate flowers

outer tepals linear to narrowly spatulate or lanceolate, 0.8-1.2 mm, inner tepals ovate to broadly ovate, 1.4-1.8 × 1.1-1.3 mm.


ovoid to broadly ovoid, 1-1.3(-1.4) × 0.7-0.9 mm.

Urtica dioica


Subspecies 3 (3 in the flora).

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

from FNA
AK; AL; AZ; CA; CO; CT; DC; DE; FL; GA; IA; ID; IL; IN; KS; KY; LA; MA; MD; ME; MI; MN; MO; MS; MT; NC; ND; NE; NH; NJ; NM; NV; NY; OH; OK; OR; PA; RI; SD; TN; TX; UT; VA; VT; WA; WI; WV; WY; AB; BC; MB; NB; NF; NS; NT; ON; PE; QC; SK; YT; Mexico; Eurasia
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Parent taxa Urticaceae > Urtica
Sibling taxa
U. chamaedryoides, U. gracilenta, U. urens
Subordinate taxa
U. dioica subsp. dioica, U. dioica subsp. gracilis, U. dioica subsp. holosericea
1.Plants unisexual, staminate and pistillate flowers on different plants; leaf blades abaxially hispid, both surfaces with stinging hairs.U. dioica subsp. dioica
1.Plants unisexual, staminate and pistillate flowers mostly on same plants; leaf blades abaxially bearing stinging hairs, otherwise glabrous, puberulent, or tomentose and moderately strigose, adaxially without (rarely with a few) stinging hairs.→ 2
2.Stems glabrous or strigose, with a few stinging hairs; leaf blades abaxially glabrous or puberulent.U. dioica subsp. gracilis
2.Stems softly pubescent, also with stinging hairs; leaf blades abaxially tomentose to moderately strigose.U. dioica subsp. holosericea
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 2: 984. (1753)
Source Flora of North America vol. 3.
Web links