Stinging Tree
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Stinging Tree
ative Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Stinging Tree, Devil Nettle, Mousa Nettle, Elephant Fever Nettle, Mouse Nettle • Assamese: Sirnat, Sorat • Bengali: Chorpata • Hindi: Morange, Utigun • Kannada: Malai Murugan • Malayalam: Kattanplavu, Aanayaviratti, Aanavannangi • Nepali: Moringe • Tamil: ஆனைச்சொரியன் Anaichorian, Otta-pilavu • Mizo: Thakpui
Botanical name: Dendrocnide sinuata    Family: Urticaceae (Nettle family)
Synonyms: Urtica sinuata, Urtica pulus

Stinging Tree is a large shrubs to small trees with branchlets round, white, covered with soft stinging hairs. Upon contact with skin the nettle causes a painful itch, hives, fever and chills, skin depressions and clamminess which can recur over 10 days to six months. Leaves are to 20 x 10 cm, elliptic to oblong-lanceshaped, pointed at either ends, entire or rounded toothed, lateral nerves 9 pairs, leaf-stalk to 6 cm long. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, in stalked cymes, branches dichotomous, to 20 x 20 cm. Flowers are monoecious or dioecious; male tepals 4 or 5, ovate, cup-shaped; female tepals 4, ovate, free, velvet-hairy; stamens 4, free; pistillode club-shaped; ovary 1-celled, ovules solitary; style 4 mm long, puberulus, persistent. Achenes 6 mm, ovoid, white, hairless. Stinging Tree is found in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Flowering: November-December.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Brahmagiri Range, Kodagu, Karnataka & Arunachal Pradesh.

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