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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 5 | Urticaceae | Boehmeria

6. Boehmeria macrophylla Hornemann, Hort. Bot. Hafn. 2: 890. 1815.

水苎麻 shui zhu ma

Subshrubs or herbs perennial, 1-2(-3.5) m tall; upper stems strigose. Dioecious or monoecious. Leaves opposite, unequal in size; stipules lanceolate, 8-10 mm; petiole 0.8-8 cm, pubescent; leaf blade ovate, suborbicular, elliptic-ovate, or sublanceolate, 6-18 × 3-12 cm, membranous, herbaceous, or rarely papery, secondary veins 2 or 3 pairs along midvein, abaxial surface rugulose, sparsely strigose or patent pubescent along veins, adaxial surface strigose, base rounded or subcordate, sometimes oblique, margin serrulate or denticulate, teeth 2-5 mm, apex acuminate or abruptly cuspidate. Glomerules unisexual, on long spikelike branches, these erect or pendent, usually unbranched, but sometimes with short or long lateral branches from base, glomerules separated or sometimes densely congested; female ones in distal axils, 7-20 cm. Male flowers 4-merous, sessile; perianth lobes ca. 1.5 mm, sparsely puberulent, connate at base; rudimentary ovule ellipsoid, ca. 0.4 mm. Fruiting perianth tube ellipsoid, compressed, ca. 1 mm, smooth, strigose on shoulder, apex 2-toothed. Fl. Jun-Sep, fr. Sep-Jan.

Forests, forest margins, thickets, along streams, roadsides; 100-3000 m. N Guangdong, N and W Guangxi, Guizhou, S Xizang, Yunnan, SE Zhejiang [Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam].

The species as a whole is characterized by the opposite leaves, spikelike inflorescences, and fruiting perianth with a rounded base. The varieties are very distinctive and their status needs more detailed assessment.

The fibers are used to make ropes.

1 Leaf blade suborbicular, base cordate, abaxial surface with patent hairs along veins.   6c var. rotundifolia
+ Leaf blade not orbicular, base usually not cordate, abaxial surface sparsely strigose or densely canescent.   (2)
2 (1) Leaf blade papery, 4.5-7(-10) × 2-4(-6) cm, rugose, adaxial surface stiffly hispid, reticulate veins strongly raised abaxially.   6d var. scabrella
+ Leaf blade often herbaceous or membranous, 7-20 × 4-12 cm, slightly rugose, adaxial surface sparsely strigose, reticulate veins slightly raised.   (3)
3 (2) Stems and petioles sparsely strigose; leaf blade often membranous, apex long-cuspidate, 1.5-2 cm, abaxial surface sparsely strigose.   6a var. macrophylla
+ Stems and petioles densely strigose; leaf blade herbaceous, apex cuspidate, 0.5-1.2 cm, abaxial surface densely canescent.   6b var. canescens


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