Canadian Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis)

Perennial
Urtica canadensis.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Canadian Wood Nettle
Laportea canadensis
Urticaceae

A fibre obtained from the stem is used for making nets, cordage etc[4, 46, 61, 159, 257]. It is up to 50 times stronger than cotton[123].

  • Medicinal Use

    A decoction of the plant is used in the treatment of fevers[257].

    The root is diuretic[257]. An infusion of the crushed roots has been used to facilitate childbirth[257].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves – cooked[105]. Very nutritious and with a delicious flavour, they are used like spinach[159]. Some caution should be observed when harvesting this plant since the raw leaves have stinging hairs. It is perfectly safe to eat the leaves when they are cooked, however, since heat completely destroys the sting[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The leaves have stinging hairs, much like stinging nettles to which they are related.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
We have very little information on this plant and do not know how hardy it is, but it succeeds outdoors at Kew and Cambridge Botanical Gardens as well as our trial grounds in Cornwall[K]. It should succeed in most soils in sun or semi-shade.
N. America – Nova Scotia to Ontario and North Dakota, south to Florida and Kansas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.