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2. URTICA L., 1753

Fls small, greenish, unisexual, in axillary simple or branched spikes or racemes; per. deeply 4-partite; stamens 4, inflexed in bud; ovary us. ovoid; stigma penicillate; ovule 1, erect. Achene us. ovoid; subcompressed, invested by long-persistent per. About 40 spp., mostly temperate and subtropical, of annual to perennial herbs or shrubs, us, bearing stinging hairs; lvs opp., toothed or lobed. The N.Z. spp. are endemic, except U. incisa, which is common in Australia and Tasmania.

Plant a shrub up to 2 m. or more tall; stinging hairs on slender stiff stalks up to 6 mm. long; lvs of ovate-triangular order 1. ferox
Plant a herb, sts softly woody at base; stinging hairs sessile or subsessile; lvs not of ovate-triangular order 2
Plant with very slender, weak, openly branched stems, us. scrambling or lianoid; lvs linear to linear-lanceolate 2. linearifolia
Plant with stouter simple or branched stems, decumbent to erect, neither scrambling nor lianoid; lvs not linear nor linear-lanceolate 3
Laminae mostly > 5 cm. long; stipules bifid 4
Laminae mostly < 5 cm. long; stipules entire 5
Lamina 10-15 × 8-14 cm.; stipules lanceolate, non-stinging hairs very few 3. australis
Lamina 5-8 × 3-7 cm.; stipules broad-ovate, non-stinging hairs∞ 4. aucklandica
Lamina 2-4 × 1-4 cm.; stinging hairs ∞; plant dioec., rhizomes distinct 5. aspera
Lamina 2-5 × 2-5 cm.; stinging hairs few; plant monoec., rhizomes absent 6. incisa