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Urera trinervis (Climbing tree nettle)

[= Urera cameroonensis]

Boomranknetel [Afrikaans]

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 canopy climber, reaching 10 m high.
  • Leaves simple, spirally arranged, about 6-12 cm long and 3.5-8 cm wide, strongly 3-veined at the base. Leaves narrow terminally to form a drip tip.
  • Flowers are small and greenish white in colour, unisexual on separate plants.
  • Fruit a small nut covered with persistent orange, perianth lobes.

Distribution and habitat

Native to tropical Africa, including West Africa, Central Africa and East Africa. Within southern Africa, it occurs along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, as far south as Port St Johns; also eastern Zimbabwe. Occurs in forest or on forest margins, including dune forest.

Ecological interactions


Information below from Grubben and Denton (2004).

  • Cooked as a vegetable in the DRC.
  • Rope and fishing lines are manufactured from the bark fibres (e.g. in DRC and Nigeria).
  • The leaves are used to treat scabies in Cameroon.
  • The Shambaa people in Tanzania chew the leaves and swallow the juice to treat nausea whereas in Nigeria the leaf juice is drunk to treat intestinal disorders.
  • The stem is cut to yield drinkable water and in Congo this water is drunk to treat rapid heart beat (tachycardia).



  • Grubben, G.J.H. and Denton, O.A. (Editors) 2004. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation / Backhuys Publishers, Netherlands.
  • Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson

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