Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Laportea interrupta (L.) Chew

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Flowers. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves. © R.L. Barrett
Habit and leaves. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and Flowers. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Stem. © R.L. Barrett
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Chew, W.L. (1965) The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 21 : 200.

Common name

Hawaii Woodnettle


Usually flowers and fruits as a herb but sometimes attains the height of a shrub.


Leaf blades about 8-12 x 5-7 cm. Scattered stiff hairs, not stinging hairs, present on the twigs, petioles and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade. Stipules filiform, hairy.


Inflorescence to 30 cm long. Tepals about 1-1.5 mm long. Male flowers: Flowers less than 1 mm diam., on a pedicel about 1 mm long. Stamens inflexed in the bud. Pollen white. Female flowers: Flowers sessile, ovary about 0.75 mm long. Stigma split into three processes.


Nuts or achenes about 1.25 mm long, sessile, perianth persistent at the base. Embryo about 1 mm long, cotyledons about as wide as the radicle.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 3-5 mm diam. First pair of leaves ovate, 3-veined, margin crenate with about 3-6 teeth on each side. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade sparsely clothed in broad-based stinging hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate, apex acuminate, variable in size with about 13-20 rounded teeth on each side. Each tooth ending in 1 or 2 hairs forming an aristate tip. Lateral veins and midrib depressed on the upper surface. Petioles about 15-25 mm long. Stipules filiform but broad based, about 3-5 mm long, each pair fused together. 'Oil dots' minute, visible with a lens. Seed germination time 186 to 272 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from sea level to 800 m. Grows in monsoon forest and vine thickets. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia and the islands of the south west Pacific.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Fleurya interrupta (L.) Wight, Icon. Pl. 6: 10(1853). Urtica interrupta L., Species Plantarum : 985(1753), Type: Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Hermann; holo: BM. Fide W. L.Chew (1989).
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