Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Fatoua villosa (Murray) Nakai

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Inflorescence. © R.L. Barrett
Inflorescence. © R.L. Barrett
Habit and leaves. © R.L. Barrett
Habit, leaves, flowers and fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Nakai, T. (1927) Botanical Magazine (Tokyo) 41: 516.

Common name

Hairy crabweed; Crabweed, Hairy


Herb or subshrub up to 1 m tall, leafy stems clothed in hairs. Leafy stems 0.5-2 mm thick, minutely puberulous and with longer hairs.


Leaves distichous; lamina cordiform to ovate, 10-45 x 10-40 mm, membranous, upper surface hispidulous to puberulous, scabrous to smooth; lower surface minutely puberulous; petioles 7-45 mm long, usually much larger than the leaf blades.


Inflorescences subcapitate, 0.3-1 cm diam.; peduncle 0.5-2.5 cm long, minutely puberulous. Staminate flowers with tepals ca. 1 mm long, puberulous, stamens ca. 1.5 mm long; pistillate flowers with tepals ca. 1 mm long, style 2-3 mm long.


Endocarp body ca. 0.8 x 0.6 mm.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT and in CYP on islands of the Torres Strait. Cultivated and escaped plants are recorded from near Brisbane. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 45 m. Grows in forest margins and in vine thickets, often on calcareous soils. Also from Japan, Thailand, Indochina, Melanesia and the Pacific Islands.

Natural History & Notes

This species is very variable with regard to habit, indumentum (hairs), and leaves.

Urtica villosa Murray, Systema Vegetabilium Edn. 14 : 851(1784). Fatoua pilosa Gaudich., Voyage Autour du Monde .. sur les Corvettes de S.M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne. Botanique 12: 509(1830), Type: Moluccas.
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