nettle family

nettle family
the plant family Urticaceae, characterized by herbaceous plants, trees, and shrubs, sometimes covered with stinging hairs, having alternate or opposite simple leaves, clusters of small flowers, and small, dry, seedlike fruit, and including baby's-tears, clearweed, nettles of the genus Urtica, and ramie.

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Family Urticaceae, composed of about 45 genera of herbaceous plants, shrubs, small trees, and a few vines, found mostly in tropical regions.

Many species, especially the nettles (Urtica) and Australian nettle trees (Laportea), have on their stems and leaves stinging hairs that break the skin and release a fluid that irritates it for hours. Ornamental species include artillery plant (Pilea microphylla) and baby tears (Helxine soleiroli), both creeping plants. The trumpet tree (Cecropia peltata), a species of the New World tropics, has hollow stems that are inhabited by biting ants. Ramie, or China grass (Boehmeria nivea), produces a valuable fibre. Some nettles can be cooked and eaten.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • nettle family — noun a family of plants of order Urticales including many nettles with stinging hairs • Syn: ↑Urticaceae, ↑family Urticaceae • Hypernyms: ↑dicot family, ↑magnoliopsid family • Member Holonyms: ↑Urticales, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • nettle — [net′ l] n. [ME netle < OE netele, akin to Ger nessel < IE base * ned , to twist together > NET1: from the use of such plants as a source of spinning fiber] 1. any of a genus (Urtica) of annual and perennial weeds of the nettle family… …   English World dictionary

  • nettle-tree — nettˈle tree noun 1. A tree of the elm family (genus Celtis), with nettle shaped leaves, edible drupes, and wood good for turning 2. A tropical and Australian tree (genus Laportea) of the nettle family, with virulently stinging leaves • • • Main… …   Useful english dictionary

  • nettle — I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English netel; akin to Old High German nazza nettle, Greek adikē Date: before 12th century 1. any of a genus (Urtica of the family Urticaceae, the nettle family) of chiefly coarse herbs armed with… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nettle — nettlelike, adj. nettler, n. nettly, adj. /net l/, n., v., nettled, nettling. n. 1. any plant of the genus Urtica, covered with stinging hairs. Cf. nettle family. 2. any of various allied or similar plants. 3. grasp the nettle, Australian. to… …   Universalium

  • nettle — 1. noun /ˈnet(ə)l/ a) A herb of the genus Urtica, which is covered with stinging, mildly poisonous hairs, causing an instant rash. b) The non stinging plant deadnettle, also in the nettle family, Urticaceae (named after the above). 2. verb …   Wiktionary

  • nettle — SYN: urtica. [A.S. netele] * * * net·tle net əl n 1) any plant of the genus Urtica (family Urticaceae, the nettle family) 2) any of various prickly or stinging plants other than one of the genus Urtica * * * net·tle (netґəl) any plant of the …   Medical dictionary

  • family — /fam euh lee, fam lee/, n., pl. families, adj. n. 1. parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not. 2. the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family. 3. the spouse and children …   Universalium

  • family Urticaceae — noun a family of plants of order Urticales including many nettles with stinging hairs • Syn: ↑Urticaceae, ↑nettle family • Hypernyms: ↑dicot family, ↑magnoliopsid family • Member Holonyms: ↑Urticales, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Nettle — Net tle, n. [AS. netele; akin to D. netel, G. nessel, OHG. nezz[ i]la, nazza, Dan. nelde, n[ a]lde, Sw. n[ a]ssla; cf, Lith. notere.] (Bot.) A plant of the genus {Urtica}, covered with minute sharp hairs containing a poison that produces a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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