Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs, evergreen, branches sympodial, often with terminal rosettes of leaves, armed with stinging hairs. Leaves alternate, spiral, petiolate; stipules deciduous, intrapetiolar, completely connate, leathery, often large, apex entire; leaf blade leathery or papery, pinnately veined, rarely 3-5-veined, margin entire, undulate, or crenulate; cystoliths punctiform. Inflorescences solitary, pedunculate, generally forming cymose-panicles or racemes unisexual (plants dioecious); female glomerules often with thickened, fleshy flabellate receptacle; bracts present. Male flowers 4- or 5-merous; filaments of stamens inflexed in bud; rudimentary ovary conspicuous. Female flowers: perianth lobes 4, connate at base, subequal, lateral lobes slightly larger; staminodes absent. Ovary ovoid, erect; stigma filiform or ligulate, papillous on 1 side; ovule orthotropous. Achene slightly oblique, often compressed, often large, verrucose, persistent stigma usually reflexed; pedicels simple or swollen, cylindric, not winged. Seeds with thin or no endosperm; cotyledons broad.
The stem fibers are used to make ropes. The stinging hairs may be very irritating.
About 36 species: S and SE Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands; six species (one endemic) in China.
(Authors: Chen Jiarui (陈家瑞 Chen Chia-jui); Ib Friis, C. Melanie Wilmot-Dear)