Herb: Canadian Wood Nettle

Latin name: Laportea canadensis

Synonyms: Urtica canadensis, Urtica divaricata, Urticastrum divaricatum

Family: Urticaceae (Nettle Family)

Medicinal use of Canadian Wood Nettle:

A decoction of the plant is used in the treatment of fevers. The root is diuretic. An infusion of the crushed roots has been used to facilitate childbirth.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Low woods, moist places and banks of streams.

Edible parts of Canadian Wood Nettle:

Young leaves - cooked. Very nutritious and with a delicious flavour, they are used like spinach. 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.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre obtained from the stem is used for making nets, cordage etc. It is up to 50 times stronger than cotton.

Propagation of Canadian Wood Nettle:

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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Low woods, moist places and banks of streams.

Known hazards of Laportea canadensis:

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

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.