Urtica incisa Poir.

Scrub Nettle

in Lam., Encycl. suppl. 4: 224 (1816) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Dioecious or monoecious perennial herb to 1.5(–2) m high, leaves and stems (except for very young tips) glabrous or nearly so between the scattered stinging hairs. Leaves oblong or lanceolate to broadly ovate; base cuneate, truncate or cordate; margins regularly dentate; apex acute to acuminate; lamina 6–15 cm long, 1–8 cm wide; petioles shorter to longer than lamina; stipules 2–4 mm long. Male inflorescences 2–8 cm long, usually longer and sparser than females, when plants monoecious, female inflorescences generally arising in upper nodes and males below, occasionally some nodes with mixed male and female inflorescences. Male flowers with tepals c. 1.5 mm long. Female flowers with short (c. 0.6 mm long), and long (c. 1 mm) tepals, glabrous. Flowers all year, but mostly Sep.–Mar.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, HFE, HNF, HSF, MonT, NIS, OtP, OtR, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro. Also WA, SA, Qld, NSW, ACT, Tas. New Zealand, New Caledonia. Widespread and locally common in cooler parts of Victoria, particularly on margins and in clearings within rainforests, wet open-forests swamps and amongst rocks (particularly basalt or limestone).

Urtica sykesii Grosse-Veldmann & Weigend has been reported from Victoria (and Australia) on the basis of a single (1908) specimen purportedly collected from Casterton and now housed in the Paris herbarium. This otherwise New Zealand endemic is differentiated from U. incisa on the basis of its extensively rhizomatous habit, smaller stature (rarely above 30 cm high), shorter (20–60 mm), relatively broader (20–50 mm) leaves and male and female inflorescences occurring on the same plants, with females confined to upper nodes. It's considered likely that the Paris (Casterton) specimen may have been mixed or mislabelled in transfer from Australia, or less credibly, that the specimen represents a transient introduction of U. sykesii into Victoria from New Zealand. Nonetheless, plants of U. incisa from deeply shaded forests do share some characteristics approaching those of U. sykesii (e.g. inflorescence distribution, relatively broad leaves), but remain generally tall plants and with leaves larger than those described for U. sykesii. They correspond to the type form of U. lucifuga Hook.f., now regarded as a part of U. incisa, the earlier published name. Hooker recognised two varieties of U. lucifuga, with var. linearifolia Hook.f. equivalent to 'typical', narrow-leaved U. incisa. Further study may suggest that formal recognition of two varieties (within U. incisa) is warranted.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1996). Urtica. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-01-10
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Rosales
family Urticaceae
genus Urtica
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Urtica incisa in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Urtica incisa in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory