Page author: David Giblin
Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis
stinging nettle

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: In deep, rich soil or near moisture, sagebrush deserts, shady lowlands and mountain slopes, sea level to subalpine.

Flowers: May-September

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Rhizomatous perennials 1-3 meters tall.


Simple, opposite, petiolate with stipules at base; margins serrate to dentate; stinging and nonstinging hairs present on both surfaces, or stinging hairs on lower surface only.


Plants monoecious or dioecious. Sepals 4, petals absent, stamens 4 and opposite the sepals, ovary superior.


Achene enclosed within the dry sepals.

Accepted Name:
Urtica dioica L. ssp. gracilis (Aiton) Selander
Publication: Svensk Bot. Tidskr. 41: 271. 1947.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Urtica californica Greene
Urtica dioica L. var. angustifolia Schltdl. [HC]
Urtica dioica L. var. californica (Greene) C.L. Hitchc. [HC]
Urtica dioica L. var. gracilis (Aiton) R.L. Taylor & MacBryde [HC]
Urtica dioica L. var. lyallii (S. Watson) C.L. Hitchc. [HC]
Urtica dioica L. var. procera (Muhl. ex Willd.) Wedd. [HC]
Urtica gracilis Aiton
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis information.

E-Flora BC: Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis photos.

USDA Plants: Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis information.

33 photographs:
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