Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Obetia carruthersiana (Angola tree nettle)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Rosales > Family: Urticaceae


  • A deciduous shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 7 m.
  • Bark smooth, pinkish. Young branchlets are bright red.
  • Watery latex present.
  • Leaves ovate or heart-shaped with tapered apex, lobed base, serrated margin, about 7 cm long by 10 cm wide, and covered with stinging hairs.
  • The very small, greenish-yellow flowers are in branching clusters.
  • The fruit is a very small oval nut within the remains of the flower.

Distribution and habitat

Native to Namibia and Angola, where it is found in semi-arid habitats, on rocky hills and mountainsides.


  • Flowers in September, before the leaves are produced.
  • Fruits from October to November.

Ecological interactions

No records.


No records.


  • Named after William Carruthers, who was a Keeper of the National Herbarium of the British Museum.



  • Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
  • Palmer, E. and Pitman, N. 1972. Trees of Southern Africa covering all known indigenous species in the Republic of South Africa, South-West Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. Volume 1. A.A. Balkema, Cape Town.
  • van Wyk, B. and van Wyk, P. 1997. Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson

Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search