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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 3 | Urticaceae | Boehmeria

2. Boehmeria nivea (Linnaeus) Gaudichaud Beaupré, Voy. Uranie, Bot. 12: 499. 1830.


Urtica nivea Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 985. 1753; Ramium niveum (Linnaeus) Small

Shrubs or subshrubs , 2(-3) m. Leaves alternate. Leaf blades broadly ovate to nearly orbiculate, 8-15 × 5-12 cm, abaxial surface densely white-tomentose, adaxial surface slightly scabrous. Inflorescences panicles of moniliform (beaded) clusters, branches not leafy at apex; staminate flowers in proximal leaf axils, pistillate flowers in distil axils. Achenes compressed or lenticular, ovoid or ellipsoid, ca. 1.5 × ca. 0.9 mm, pubescent with straight or slightly curved hairs, uniformly smooth; seeds not conspicuous in outline, corky tissue absent.

Flowering late summer-fall. Roadsides, waste places, vacant lots, cultivated fields, along Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains; 0-200 m; introduced; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., S.C., Tex., Va.; Central America; Asia.

Boehmeria nivea , ramie, is an important source of fiber in Asia and was introduced into the United States in 1855 as a commercial crop. The fibers are exceptionally strong but difficult to extract.


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