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Useful Tropical Plants

Laportea aestuans

(L.) Chew

Urticaceae

+ Synonyms

Fleurya aestuans (L.) Gaudich.

Fleurya caraoellana (Schrank) Wedd.

Fleurya caravellana (Schrank) Wedd.

Fleurya cordata Gaudich.

Fleurya corylifolia Gaudich.

Fleurya glandulosa Wedd.

Fleurya ingrate Miq.

Fleurya lurida Blume

Fleurya perrieri Leandri

Fleurya petiolata Decne.

Fleurya racemosa Gaudich.

Fleuryopsis petiolata (Decne.) Opiz

Laportea bathiei Leandri

Laportea glandulosa (Wedd.) V.C.Lima

Urera gaudichaudiana Hensl.

Urtica aestuans L.

Urtica caravellana Schrank

Urtica cordata (Gaudich.) Steud.

Urtica corylifolia Juss. ex Poir

Urtica divergens G. Mey.

Urtica latifolia Rich.

Urtica nemorosa Kunth

Urtica petiolata (Decne.) Steud.

Urtica racemosa Burm. ex Wedd.

Urtica schimperiana Hochst. ex Steud.

Urtica tuberculata Andersson

Common Name: West Indian Nettle

Laportea aestuans
Inflorescence
Photograph by: O. M. Montiel
Creative Commons License
Laportea aestuans Laportea aestuans Laportea aestuans Laportea aestuans

General Information

West Indian nettle is a little-branched, annual plant usually growing up to 1 metre tall, occasionally to 3 metres. The stem is fleshy, becoming slightly woody at the base, and the whole plant is densely covered with stinging hairs up to 1mm long[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A popular medicinal herb within its range, the plant also provides a useful fibre and edible leaves. It is harvested from the wild for local use.

Known Hazards

The leaves contain irritant calcium oxalate crystals which can cause urticaria[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. This is likely to be very similar to the common nettle (Urtica urens) where the crystals are most prevalent in older leaves, especially once the plant has started flowering - the young leaves are a very wholesome food to eat[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Contact of the skin with the stinging hairs causes pain and blisters, but this effect is lost when plant parts are dried[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Botanical References


Range

S. America - Peru, Ecuador, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean; Tropical Africa; Tropical Asia to New Guinea.

Habitat

Farmland, along roads and in other disturbed locations in forest or woodland areas, always in partial shade, sometimes in rock crevices at elevations from sea level to 1,300 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitAnnual
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Usually found in partially shaded positions in the wild[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A very common plant in Africa, where it is often considered a weed[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]..

Edible Uses

The slightly mucilaginous leaves are often eaten as a vegetable and in soups[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
617
Title
Traditional Vegetables in Benin
Publication
 
Author
Achigan-Dako E. Et al
Publisher
Darwin Initiative; International Foundation for Science
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
Issued as a PDF on the Internet, it contains basic information on over 250 species of plants used for food in Benin.
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The plant is widely used in African traditional medicine, though little research has been carried out into its medicinal properties[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A methanol extract, before and after filtering through charcoal, and various fractions were assayed against 12 species of pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Extracts were active against 7 of them, especially Staphylococcus aureus. In subsequent phytochemical screenings, reactions were positive for steroids, but negative for alkaloids, flavonoids and anthraquinones[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The pulped whole plant is eaten or the plant sap is drunk as an anthelmintic and for the treatment of hernias[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Applied externally, the pulp is rubbed on the body in the treatment of fevers in children, oedema and ulcers[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Dried and powdered, the plant is rubbed into scarifications as a treatment for headaches and syphilitic yaws[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The leaves are diuretic and laxative[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. They are often eaten as a vegetable or in a soup to treat digestive disorders including stomach aches, indigestion and constipation[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. An infusion of the leaf is taken for the treatment of urine retention, bed wetting, haemorrhages, filariasis, rheumatism and menopausal disorders[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. The leaf is roasted then ground in water and the liquid drunk as a treatment for gonorrhoea; leucorrhoea is treated in the same way but without roasting the leaf first[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The boiled leaves, pounded with clay and water, are applied in enemas as a treatment against dysentery[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The leaves are used externally to treat a range of conditions, As a sap, often mixed with palm oil or kaolin, they are applied to abscesses and wounds; on the head of children to close the fontanel; on the abdomen to ease childbirth; and on the gums to relieve toothache[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A maceration of the fresh leaf is used to massage the body for the treatment of intercostal pain and stitches in the side. Slightly scorched or smoked, the leaves are applied to burns and used against migraine[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A leaf decoction is applied on swellings; instilled in the eye to treat minor eye infections; and used as an embrocation to strengthen rachitic children and to relieve fever[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

A decoction of the leaf and root is drunk as an antidote to any case of poisoning[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The inflorescence, combined with the seed of Aframomum melegueta, is eaten as a treatment for sore throat and hoarseness[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

In Costa Rica and Martinique, this species has been shown to be a host for root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), which are pests in banana plantations. It is also a host of African cassava mosaic virus (ACMV)[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

A fibre obtained from the stem is used for making thread, string and rope[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The bark yields 45% fibre, which is irregularly distributed in the bark, it is white and does not contain any lignin; tensile strength is low; degumming is moderately easy[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed -

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