A family of dicotyledonous plants which consists of the nettles as well as some non-stinging plants. Some examples of the 45 genera are Urtica (stinging nettles), Hesperocnide (western nettles), and Pilea.

Like me, you may have had the misfortune of discovering a stand of stinging nettles as a child, remarked on their velvety appearance, and attempted to pet the leaves. I think we all know how this little frolic down memory lane ends. Not all Urticaceous plants are 'mean' though. The false nettles (Boehmeria) lack stinging trichomes (hence the name) nor do baby's tears (Soleirolia) sting.

Another memory from childhood will probably call to mind the fairy tale of the 12 swans in which the lone sister of the brood had to make shirts out of nettles for her enchanted brothers.

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