If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Tropical Plants

Urera baccifera

(L.) Gaudich. ex Wedd.

Urticaceae

+ Synonyms

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.

Common Name:

Urera baccifera
Flowering stem
Photograph by: A. Gentry
Creative Commons License
Urera baccifera Urera baccifera Urera baccifera Urera baccifera Urera baccifera Urera baccifera Urera baccifera Urera baccifera

General Information

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[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
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[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

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[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
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!!![
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Botanical References

331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/

Range

S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean - Trinidad to Cuba.

Habitat

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[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitShrub
Height4.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

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[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Prefers a sunny position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
], tolerating some shade but dying out in heavier shade[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions from acid to calcareous; growing in well-drained to somewhat poorly drained soils of all textures[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant is considered a weed when growing in shaded coffee plantations; however it has never been found naturalized outside its native range[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
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[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

An infusion of the fresh leaves is diuretic[
528
Title
Indicador de Madeiras e Plantas Uteis do Brasil.
Publication
 
Author
Fonseca E. T. De
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
1922
ISBN
 
Description
Brief details of some of the uses of Brazilian plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
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[
521
Title
Useful Plants of the Siona and Secoya Indians of Eastern Ecuador.
Publication
Fieldiana Botany New Series No. 15
Author
Vickers W.T.; Plowman T.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; USA.
Year
1984
ISBN
0015 - 0746
Description
Very terse, but it gives the uses of a large number of species. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. This causes an excruciating pain, gradually replaced over the following days by a numbness!!![
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

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[
697
Title
Botanical Museum Leaflets Vol 29
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Year
1983
ISBN
 
Description
Some interesting notes on plant uses in tropical America. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. A decoction of the roots is employed in treating gonorrhea[
697
Title
Botanical Museum Leaflets Vol 29
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Year
1983
ISBN
 
Description
Some interesting notes on plant uses in tropical America. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

A decoction of the root is diuretic[
528
Title
Indicador de Madeiras e Plantas Uteis do Brasil.
Publication
 
Author
Fonseca E. T. De
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
1922
ISBN
 
Description
Brief details of some of the uses of Brazilian plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

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[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
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[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

Fibre from the branches has been used for making rope, twine and paper[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - when sown fesh it can germinate in 26 days or more with around 49% sprouting[
692
Title
Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions
Publication
 
Author
Francis J.K. (Editor)
Website
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/wildland_shrubs.htm
Publisher
USDA; Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestr
Year
2000
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent series of papers, in PDf format, from various authors giving quite detailed information on a range of shrubs growing in the United States and its Territories. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Cuttings are easy - even thick branches take root quickly when set in the ground[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.