Urera armigera (C.Presl) Miq.
Urera denticulata Miq.
Urera horrida (Kunth) Miq.
Urera rugosa Rusby
Urera viridisetosa Rusby
Urtica armigera C.Presl
Urtica baccifera L.
Urtica grandidentata Liebm.
Urtica horrida Kunth
Urtica nitida Vell.
Urera baccifera is usually a stout shrub growing 2 - 4 metres tall, though it can often become a small tree up to 7 metres tall. It has few, thick, pale, branches and is armed throughout with coarse, broad-based, often recurved,
hollow, stinging, spine-like hairs[
Because of its stinging prickles, the plant is widely grown as an impenetrable hedge, and is also used as a source of fibre. The plant is sometimes cultivated for its fibre[
This is one of the best known plants of Guatemala and all Central America, one known and probably physically so, to all Central Americans, for it is one of the most severely stinging plants that exist in the Americas[
The large spine-like prickles are hollow and filled with liquid. When one brushes against a branch or a leaf, the prickles penetrate the flesh and cause the most excruciating pain, as sudden as an electric shock, that may last two or three days. The pain gradually disappears, to be followed by numbness in the affected part. It is needless to explain why the shrub makes an effective hedge plant!!![
S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean - Trinidad to Cuba.
Common or abundant in wet or dry thickets, often in secondary growth, mostly in the lowlands at elevations up to 850 metres, but occurring also at higher elevations in Guatemala possibly because it was planted[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Widespread throughout the moister American tropics and into the subtropics, this species is generaly not found in areas with a mean annual rainfall of less than 1,600mm, preferring the range 2,000 - 4,000mm[
Prefers a sunny position[
], tolerating some shade but dying out in heavier shade[
]. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions from acid to calcareous; growing in well-drained to somewhat poorly drained soils of all textures[
The plant is considered a weed when growing in shaded coffee plantations; however it has never been found naturalized outside its native range[
When stems are cut during site management activities they quickly sprout and regain their former height. Whether sprouting from the rootstalk occurs after senescence and death of individual stems is not known[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
An infusion of the fresh leaves is diuretic[
The leaves are used in the treatment of muscle pain. A leaf is held by its petiole and the nettles are brushed against the skin[
]. This causes an excruciating pain, gradually replaced over the following days by a numbness!!![
The Waorani also use this plant to relieve tainting and all pain, including that from aching muscles, arthritis, pulled muscles, snakebite, stingray and stings of the conga, a/teea and fire ants. The roots are said in the Colombian Amazon to have antihaemorrhagic properties, and an infusion of the leaves alleviates erysipelas[
]. A decoction of the roots is employed in treating gonorrhea[
A decoction of the root is diuretic[
When one brushes against a branch or a leaf of this plant, the prickles penetrate the flesh and cause the most excruciating pain. It is needless to explain why the shrub makes such an effective hedge plant, and for this purpose it is widely planted in the Americas. Horses fear it, and few other large animals will attempt to penetrate such hedges, which are far from being things of beauty. Only in the early part of the rainy season, when the new foliage has developed, are the hedges at all presentable. During the height of the dry season they lose their leaves and are unsightly[
The plant has been shown to build up to high populations in a fire-disturbed forest in the Atlantic forest in southern
Brazil through a high recruitment rate and low mortality. The seeds are disbursed by birds[
Fibre from the branches has been used for making rope, twine and paper[
Seed - when sown fesh it can germinate in 26 days or more with around 49% sprouting[
Cuttings are easy - even thick branches take root quickly when set in the ground[
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