Difference between revisions of "Urticaceae"

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'''Description:''' A good family to be aware of, because many of them can inflict a painful sting! Urticaceae can have either opposite or alternate leaves, but they are always simple and almost always with a crenate margin (i.e., with small rounded teeth). The opposite-leaved genera (e.g. the understory herbs Pilea) are almost always anisophyllous (i.e., one leaf in each pair is noticeably larger than the other). Urticaceae stipules are usually rather large and papery, and borne between the petiole and the stem. The majority of species have abundant needle-shaped hairs on their leaves and stems, some that can inject acids when crushed. Some species are herbaceous, and others are shrubs. One species (Urera eggersii) is occasionally a liana; more often a sprawling shrub.
 
'''Description:''' A good family to be aware of, because many of them can inflict a painful sting! Urticaceae can have either opposite or alternate leaves, but they are always simple and almost always with a crenate margin (i.e., with small rounded teeth). The opposite-leaved genera (e.g. the understory herbs Pilea) are almost always anisophyllous (i.e., one leaf in each pair is noticeably larger than the other). Urticaceae stipules are usually rather large and papery, and borne between the petiole and the stem. The majority of species have abundant needle-shaped hairs on their leaves and stems, some that can inject acids when crushed. Some species are herbaceous, and others are shrubs. One species (Urera eggersii) is occasionally a liana; more often a sprawling shrub.

Revision as of 16:52, 9 June 2008

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Urticaceae

Description: A good family to be aware of, because many of them can inflict a painful sting! Urticaceae can have either opposite or alternate leaves, but they are always simple and almost always with a crenate margin (i.e., with small rounded teeth). The opposite-leaved genera (e.g. the understory herbs Pilea) are almost always anisophyllous (i.e., one leaf in each pair is noticeably larger than the other). Urticaceae stipules are usually rather large and papery, and borne between the petiole and the stem. The majority of species have abundant needle-shaped hairs on their leaves and stems, some that can inject acids when crushed. Some species are herbaceous, and others are shrubs. One species (Urera eggersii) is occasionally a liana; more often a sprawling shrub.

Economic uses: none in the tropics. Some of the temperate species of Laportea and Urtica are edible when young. In medieval Europe, nettles were often planted around moats as a second line of defense.


Descripción: Una familia que vale la pena reconocer, porque presenta tricomas dolorosamente urticantes. Las Urticaceas tienen hojas alternas u opuestas, pero siempre simples y casi siempre con la margen crenada (es decir, con dientes pequeñas y redondeadas). Los géneros con hojas opuestas (p. ej. Pilea, hierbas del sotobosque) muchas veces son anisófilos; es decir, cada par de hojas presenta una hoja grande y una más pequeña. Las estípulas de las Urticaceas usualmente son grandes y con la textura de papel, y aparecen entre el pecíolo y el tallo. La mayoría de las especies tienen pelos agudos y abundantes, algunos pueden inyectar ácidos cuando se les toca. Algunas especies son herbáceas, otras son arbustos, y una especie en La Selva (Urera eggersii) algunas veces crece como bejuco, pero más frecuentemente como un arbusto.

Usos económicos: En las zonas tropicales, ningunos. Unas especies de Laportea y Urtica tienen hojas jóvenes comestibles. En Europa en la época medieval, frecuentemente se sembraban ortigas afuera de los fosos de los castillos como una segunda línea defensiva.


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