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Flora of Australia Online

Laportea aestuans (L.) Chew, Gard, Bull. Singapore 21: 200 (1965); epithet from the Latin aestuans (moving to and fro); application unclear.

Fleurya aestuans (L.) Gaudich., Voy. Uranie 497 (1830); Urtica aestuans L., Sp. Pl. 2nd edn, 1396 (1763). T: Surinam; n.v.

Urera gaudichaudiana Hensl., Ann. Nat. Hist. 1: 341 (1838). T: illustration in Ann. Nat. Hist. 1: t. XII (1838): holo, fide D.M.Porter, J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 93: 160 (1986).

Illustrations: W.-L.Chew, Gard. Bull. Singapore 25: 147, fig. 19 (1969); F.R.Fosberg & S.A.Renvoize, Fl. Aldabra, Kew Bull. Add. Ser. 7: 271, fig. 43(1–3) (1980).

Erect annual monoecious herb with few branches usually to 1 m; stems glandular hairy. Leaves broadly ovate, coarsely serrate, acuminate, rounded, truncate or cordate at base, with stinging hairs scattered on upper surface and on veins on lower surface; lamina 3–30 cm long; petiole 2–20 cm long. Panicle to 20 cm long, sparsely hispid, bisexual. Male flowers 4- or 5-merous; tepals c. 1.5 mm long, apically glandular hairy. Female flowers 4-merous; lateral tepals c. 0.5 mm long; dorsal tepal c. 0.25 mm long, glandular hairy; stigma minutely penicillate. Achene 1–2 mm long, partly winged, with warty depressions on faces. 

Cocos (Keeling) Is. Occurs from India through SE Asia to Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands. Grows on North Keeling Is. in strand forest under Pisonia grandis and Argusia argentea in coralline sand. 

C.K.Is.: Cocos Islands, Apr. 1836, C.Darwin (CGE), fide F.R.Fosberg, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. ser. 12, 9: 423–424 (1956); W ocean shoreline, North Keeling Is., D.G.Williams 154 (CBG, K, PERTH).

Collected on the main atoll by Charles Darwin in April 1836, but apparently not persisting there. Darwin's collection cited above was the holotype of Urera gaudichaudiana but it cannot be located, hence D.M.Porter's nomination, (J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 93: 160 (1986)), of the plate as holotype for Henslow's name. J.S.Henslow, Ann. Nat. Hist. 1: 341 (1838), stated 'the single specimen brought home by Mr Darwin consists of an herbaceous stem about seven inches long, belonging apparently to a perennial.' The specimen was examined by F.R.Fosberg, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. ser. 12, 9: 423–424 (1956), in the 1950s. The above description is drawn in part from W.-L.Chew. Gard. Bull. Singapore 25: 164 (1969).


Data derived from Flora of Australia volume 50 (1993), a product of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia