Laportea canadensis, Wood Nettle, Stinging Wood Nettle.

Laportea canadensis, Wood Nettle, Stinging Wood Nettle is a member of the Urticaceae (stinging nettle family). Iroquois used an infusion of the roots as an emetic; treatment for tuberculosis; aid in childbirth. The Meskwaki and Ojibwa used root as a diuretic, also for urinary incontinence. The wood nettle alarmed Thomas Jefferson. A Scottish immigrant, Charles Whitlaw (1771-1850) described variously as "celebrated botanist" and "an itinerant quack," patented the use of our lowly wood nettle as a fiber plant in 1812, even convincing a botanist to name it for him — Urtica whitlowii. Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Thornton, Superintendent of the Patent Office, April 24, 1812, "Your description of the plant, a substitute for hemp & flax for the exclusive use of which Mr. Whitlow has a patent, has thrown all the boys of our neighborhood into great alarm, lest they should not be allowed hereafter to make their trap strings from what they call Indian hemp, which, boys have been in the practice from time immemorial, of applying to their purposes. . . ".

Email:, or call +1-479-253-2629 for licensing terms and fees. All images © Copyright Steven Foster. Thank you!