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Dendrocnide moroides

Family

Urticaceae

Botanical Name

Dendrocnide moroides (Wedd.) Chew

Chew, W.L. (1965) The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 21: 204. Type: ?.

Synonyms

Urticastrum moroides (Wedd.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 635(1891), Type: ?. Urtica moroides Wedd., Archives du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle 9: 142(1856), Type: ?. Laportea moroides Wedd., Arch. Mus. Hist. Nat. 9: 142(1856), Type: Queensland, Endeavour River, A. Cunningham s.n.; holo: G.

Common name

Stinging Bush; Stinger; Stinger, Gympie; Stinger, Mulberry-leaved; Gympie; Gympi Gympi; Mulberry-leaved Stinger; Gympie Stinger

Stem

Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 1-3 m tall.

Leaves

Twigs, petioles and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in stinging hairs which inflict long-lasting pain. Stipules caducous, about 20 x 5 mm, wedged between the petiole and the twig or stem, +/- sheathing the terminal bud. Petioles long, about as long as the leaf blade and attached to the leaf blade so as to be peltate. Leaf blades about 12-22 x 11-18 cm. Lateral and reticulate veins raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade and the upper surface of the leaf blade arched between the veins.

Flowers

Flowers small, in inflorescences up to 15 cm long, clothed in stinging hairs. Perianth about 0.75 mm long, clothed in very short hairs but free(?) of stinging hairs. Staminal filaments about 2 mm long, twisting at anthesis. Pollen white. Ovary glabrous.

Fruit

Infructescence up to 15 cm long consisting of a number of +/- globular heads arranged in panicles. Nuts or achenes resemble small seeds and are surrounded by the fleshy, watery, swollen receptacles or pedicels. Nut or achene about 2 mm long, the outer surface minutely warty. Style moribund but persistent at the apex of the fruit.

Seedlings

Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 3-5 mm diam. First pair of leaves alternate and clothed in stinging hairs, margin with a few teeth. At the tenth leaf stage: all parts clothed in stinging hairs, leaf base cordate, often peltate, petiole long, often almost as long as the leaf blade, stipules about 5-8 mm long, 2-awned at the apex.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 900 m. Usually grows in disturbed areas (particularly where the soil has been disturbed by tractors during logging) in lowland and upland rain forests. Also occurs in Malesia.

Natural History

All parts of this species inflict a painful sting which can last for months. If someone receives a significant sting over a wide area of a limb, as a result of being hit hard by the plant, little or no sleep will be obtained the first night following the sting. Major stings cause the affected tissue to exude lymph and pains are experienced in lymph glands in the armpit or groin. Working among plants and disturbing them cause fits of sneezing and copious production of mucous from the nasal membrane.

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

CYP

X

NEQ

X

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)

X

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

X

RFK Code

3243