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Laportea macrostachya is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.75 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
The leaves have stinging hairs, much like stinging nettles to which they are related.
E. Asia -China, Japan.
Woods in mountains, N. Japan[
]. Forest margins, thickets, partly shady, moist places, roadsides at elevations of 800 - 2700 metres in China[
We have very little information on this plant and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its habitat it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country.
It should succeed in most soils in semi-shade.
Young leaves - cooked[
]. Very nutritious, they have a peculiar sweetness[
]. 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[
A fibre obtained from the stem is used for making nets, cordage etc[
]. It is up to 50 times stronger than cotton[
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.