Herbs , annual or perennial, with stinging and nonstinging hairs on same plant. Stems simple, erect. Leaves alternate; stipules present. Leaf blades narrowly ovate to orbiculate, margins dentate or serrate; cystoliths rounded. Inflorescences axillary and terminal, of paniculately arranged cymes. Flowers unisexual, proximal panicles staminate and distal pistillate, or staminate and pistillate flowers in same panicle; bracts absent. Staminate flowers: tepals 4-5, distinct, equal; stamens 4-5; pistillode knoblike. Pistillate flowers: tepals 2-4, distinct, outer pair minute or absent, without hooked hairs; staminodes absent; style persistent even in fruit, hooklike or elongate; stigma extended along style. Achenes stipitate, laterally compressed, ±orbicular, free from and not enclosed by perianth. x =13. Most species of Laportea occur in Africa and Madagascar.
Monoecious; staminate fls with 5 distinct sep and 5 stamens; sep of the pistillate fls 4, the outer pair much smaller, or 3 or 2 by abortion; style elongate, pubescent, persistent; fr an oblique achene, much surpassing the 2 persistent sep; herbs, shrubs, or trees with small fls, often in large clusters. 25, widespread.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.