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Pipturus argenteus

Family

Urticaceae

Botanical Name

Pipturus argenteus (G.Forst.) Wedd.

Weddell, H.A. in Candolle, A.L.P.P. de (1869) Prodromus 16(1): 235. Type: ?.

Synonyms

Urtica argentea G.Forst., Prodr.: 65(1786), Type: Society Islands, G. Forster. Pipturus argenteus var. calcicolus Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 577(1928), Type: Nord-Queensland: Karsthugel der Chillagoe-Distrikts, so z. B. haufig am Smelling Bluff; grosse zerophile straucher oder auch kleine Baume (DOMIN). Boehmeria propinqua Decne., Herb. Timor.: 163(1834), Type: Timor, collector unknown; holo: ?. Pipturus propinquus (Decne.) Wedd., Archives du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle 9: 447(1856), Type: ?.

Common name

False Stinger; Native Mulberry; White Mulberry; White Nettle

Stem

Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh.

Leaves

Leaf blades about 8-15 x 4.5-8 cm, almost white on the underside. Stipules triangular, about 6-7 mm long, produced between the petiole and the twig. Stipules fused, but free at the apex, tapering into two fine points. Young leafy twigs and petioles clothed in white, erect hairs. Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped.

Flowers

Male flowers: Flowers in globular clusters, perianth 1-1.5 mm long at anthesis. Anthers projecting well beyond the perianth at anthesis. Pistillode (rudimentary ovary) in the male flower consists of a tuft of hairs. Female flowers: Flowers in globular clusters. Styles about 2 mm long and quite hairy.

Fruit

Multiple fruits globular, about 6 mm diam. Individual fruits +/- pyriform, longitudinally ribbed, about 1 mm diam. Seeds +/- spindle-shaped, about 0.7 mm diam. Testa smooth.

Seedlings

Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 2-3 mm diam, minutely hairy on the upper surface, margin ciliate. First pair of leaves ovate, margin +/- entire. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in white or pale-coloured hairs, visible with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade broadly ovate, apex acute, base rounded, upper surface scabrous from numerous, short hairs, basal pair of veins extend well up the leaf blade; stipules small, up to 3 mm long, visible with a lens. Petiole, stem and terminal bud hairy, clothed in white erect hairs.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP, NEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 900 m. Grows in various types of rain forest and wet sclerophyll forest. This species is favoured by disturbance and is a characteristic component of rain forest regrowth. Also occurs in SE Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History

Food plant for the larval stages of the White Nymph Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

This species may have medicinal properties. (http://squid2.laughingsquid.net/hosts/herbweb.com /herbage/A20501.htm)

This species has been used medicinally in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. Cribb (1981).

NT

X

CYP

X

NEQ

X

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)

X

Tree

X

Slender Vine

X

RFK Code

555