Laportea gigas Wedd.
Urera excelsa Wedd.
Urera rotundifolia Wedd.
Urticastrum gigas (Wedd.) Kuntze
Common Name: Giant Stinging Tree
Giant stinging tree is an evergreen tree that can grow in excess of 35 metres with buttresses to over 10 metres high, though it is usually smaller[
The tree was traditionally used as a source of fibre and edible fruits.
The trees, especially the young leaves, have stinging hairs. The sting can be intensely painful and the pain can recur, with reducing intensity, over a period of several months - especially if the affected area gets wet[
]. This species probably gives a stronger, more intense sting than other members of the genus[
Australia - New South Wales, Queensland.
Common in rainforest especially on slopes and in gullies, often in basaltic soil[
]. A common element of secondary forest, sometimes persisting to became a canopy or emergent tree as the woodland matures[
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A plant mainly of the subtropical rainforests, just extending into the tropics.
Plants in this genus are essentially lowland primary forest species preferring slightly moist and somewhat shady habitats[
A fast-growing species[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
Fruit - raw[
]. The fruits have a crisp texture and an acid flavour[
]. Extreme care should be exercised if trying to eat this fruit - the stinging hairs are particularly virulent and need to be completely removed before eating the fruit[
]. The fruits are produced in small clusters which can fall to the ground when ripe[
A fast-growing natural pioneer species, it is sometimes used in reforestation projects within its native range - though care should be taken of its stinging hairs[
A fibre is obtained from the inner bark, and also from the root bark[
]. The fibre from the root bark is said to be better quality[
]. It is used for cordage, nets etc[
]. Traditionally, the Aborigines would simply chew the bark until the fibres were sufficiently separated to be twisted into a cord[
The bark can also be beaten with a wooden hammer onto a flat piece of wood, in a manner similar to tapa cloth (Brousonettya papyrifera), to make a rather rough cloth[
The timber is too soft to be of much use[
Seed - it germinates readily[
Cuttings root easily[
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