Laportea aestuans

Laportea aestuans (L.) Chew

Common Names: West Indian Wood Nettle, Cow Itch

Family: Urticaceae

Habit: Laportea aestuans grows as a. semi succulent herb to 1 m with square stems. Stems and leaves pinkish, hirsute to glabrous often with stinging hairs. The leaves are arranged alternately, ovate/elliptic, to 15 cm in length, with a toothed/serrate/dentate leaf margin, and acute leaf apex.

Laportea aestuans is monoecious. The incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic, flowers are in panicles in leaf axils. The pedicellate staminate flowers reduced to 4 tepals and 4 stamens with no ovary. The sessile carpellate flowers reduced to 3 tepal bracts, no stamens, and a superior ovary with 1 locule and ovule. The fruit is a capsule at maturity.

Habitat: Laportea aestuans grows in Human Altered environments (yards, gardens, nurseries, waste areas).

Distribution: Laportea aestuans is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago.  It is native to Africa but occurs globally in the tropics and subtropics as a weed.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Laportea aestuans is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.