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Useful Tropical Plants

Dendrocnide excelsa

(Wedd.) Chew

Urticaceae

+ Synonyms

Laportea gigas Wedd.

Urera excelsa Wedd.

Urera rotundifolia Wedd.

Urticastrum gigas (Wedd.) Kuntze

Common Name: Giant Stinging Tree

Dendrocnide excelsa
Flowers and young leaves
Photograph by: Fagg, M.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Dendrocnide excelsa Dendrocnide excelsa Dendrocnide excelsa Dendrocnide excelsa Dendrocnide excelsa

General Information

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[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
,
993
Title
The Gardens' Bulletin Vol. 25
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/Default.aspx
Publisher
Botanic Gardens; Singapore
Year
1969
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal - this issue includes a treatment of the genera Dendrocnide and Laportea. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The tree was traditionally used as a source of fibre and edible fruits.

Known Hazards

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[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
,
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
]. This species probably gives a stronger, more intense sting than other members of the genus[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
].

Botanical References

286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.

Range

Australia - New South Wales, Queensland.

Habitat

Common in rainforest especially on slopes and in gullies, often in basaltic soil[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
]. A common element of secondary forest, sometimes persisting to became a canopy or emergent tree as the woodland matures[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height25.00 m
Growth RateFast
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

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[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
A fast-growing species[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
993
Title
The Gardens' Bulletin Vol. 25
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/Default.aspx
Publisher
Botanic Gardens; Singapore
Year
1969
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal - this issue includes a treatment of the genera Dendrocnide and Laportea. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
,
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
]. The fruits have a crisp texture and an acid flavour[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
]. 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[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
]. The fruits are produced in small clusters which can fall to the ground when ripe[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

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[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].

Other Uses

A fibre is obtained from the inner bark, and also from the root bark[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
]. The fibre from the root bark is said to be better quality[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
]. It is used for cordage, nets etc[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
]. Traditionally, the Aborigines would simply chew the bark until the fibres were sufficiently separated to be twisted into a cord[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
].
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[
156
Title
Useful Wild Plants in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
William Collins Pty Ltd. Sidney
Year
1981
ISBN
0-00-216441-8
Description
A very readable book.
].

The timber is too soft to be of much use[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].

Propagation

Seed - it germinates readily[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].
Cuttings root easily[
694
Title
Australian Rainforest Plants Volumes 1 - 6
Publication
 
Author
Nicholson N. & H.
Publisher
Terania Rainforest Publishing; New South Wales.
Year
2007
ISBN
9-78095894-3628
Description
Beautiful set of booklets with a terse description of over 600 species and their habitat, often including some of their uses and notes on their cultivation, plus at least one, excellent photograph.
].

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