Canadian woodnettle

(Laportea canadensis)

Conservation Status
Canadian woodnettle
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FACW - Facultative wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Canadian woodnettle is a 16 to 40 tall, erect, annual or perennial forb that rises from a rhizome and tuberous roots. It often forms dense colonies.

The stems are erect, light green or medium green, zigzagged, and unbranched. They are sparsely or densely covered with stinging hairs and non-glandular, non-stinging hairs, but they have no glandular hairs.

The leaves are alternate, broadly egg-shaped, 3 to 6 long, and 1 to 4 wide. They are on leaf stalks that are up to 4 long and covered with stinging and non-stinging hairs. They taper to a point at the tip with concave sides along the tip. They are rounded, squared off, or broadly wedge-shaped at the base, but do not have ear-like lobes at the base. The margins have sharp, forward-pointing teeth. The upper surface is medium to dark green, the lower surface is a little lighter in color. Young leaves appear wrinkled and are densely covered with both stinging and non-stinging hairs. As they age they become less wrinkled and less hairy.

Both male and female flowers are found on the same plant. The female inflorescences are elongated, loose, branched clusters at the end of the stem and rising from the upper leaf axils. They are widely spreading and up to 4 long, usually much longer than the subtending leaf stalks. The male inflorescences are elongated, branched clusters rising from the middle leaf axils. They spread outward from the stem and are seldom longer than the subtending leaf stalks.

The male flowers are 1 32 to 1 16 across, with 5 narrow, greenish-white to white sepals, no petals, and 5 stamens. The female flowers are 1 32 to 1 16 across, with 2 large, green, appressed, inner sepals, 2 much smaller, green, appressed, outer sepals, no petals, and a long, feathery, D-shaped style.

The fruit is an egg-shaped achene, 1 16 to 3 32 in diameter.




16 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species


Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis) leaves are opposite, narrower, and drooping.

Small-spike false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) has no stinging hairs. The leaves are opposite.


Moderate moisture. Woods, forests.




July to August


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  


Urticaceae (nettle)  


Laportea (wood nettles)  

Subordinate Taxa






Fleurya canadensis

Laportea divaricata

Laportea pustulata

Urtica canadensis

Urtica divaricata

Urtica pustulata

Urticastrum divaricatum


Common Names


Canada lettuce

Canada woodnettle

Canadian wood-nettle

Canadian woodnettle

wood nettle














A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.


Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

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    Canadian woodnettle   Canadian woodnettle  


    Canadian woodnettle   Canadian woodnettle  

Male Flowers

    Canadian woodnettle      

Female Flowers

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    Canadian woodnettle   Canadian woodnettle  


    Canadian woodnettle   Canadian woodnettle  
    Canadian woodnettle      


    Canadian woodnettle      






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Other Videos
  Wild Edibles series- Wood Nettle 1.wmv
White Wolf Von Atzingen

Uploaded on Jun 11, 2010

More in my wild edibles series. I was asked by many about the wood nettle and so decided to make a short edibility clip on it. Enjoy!

Use caution when trying new foods. Some people are allergic. Be aware, these videos are for informational purposes only. Ways Of The Wild Institute claims no responsibility for the misuse of this information.




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