Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Urtica 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 gracilis Aiton
Publication: Hort. Kew. 3: 341. 1789.

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

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

WA Flora Checklist: Urtica gracilis checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Urtica gracilis information.

E-Flora BC: Urtica gracilis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Urtica gracilis photos.

USDA Plants: Urtica gracilis information.

36 photographs:
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