Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Canadian Clearweed - Pilea pumila   (L.) A. Gray
Members of Urticaceae:
Members of Pilea with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Urticales » Family Urticaceae
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Author(L.) A. Gray
DistributionNearly throughout the state, but absent from most coastal areas, especially so north of New Hanover County.

This is a widespread species, from southern Canada south to central FL and central TX.
AbundanceCommon in the Mountains, Piedmont, and the northwestern half of the Coastal Plain; infrequent in the southern Coastal Plain, though present in most counties. Very rare to absent in eastern counties.
HabitatThis is a wetland species of many habitats, often found with the fairly closely related Boehmeria cylindrica. It grows in muddy or damp/wet ground of marsh edges, ditches, openings and edges of bottomlands and swamps, and around pool margins. It also can grow in oligohaline coastal marshes.
PhenologyBlooms in August and September, and fruits from September to November.
IdentificationThis is an erect species growing to about 1-1.5 feet tall, often in dense stands. It has a smooth and somewhat translucent stem, simply or branched. The opposite leaves have long petioles, often 1-2 inches long, and the blade is ovate, very serrated on the margins, deeply 3-nerved, and very shiny on the upper side; the blade is about 3-4 inches long and 1/2 as wide. The flower clusters grow in middle and upper leaf axils; they are rather short, in cymes; the similar Boehmeria has clusters long and slender, often 2 inches long, and it has dull leaves above. P. fontana is quite similar and is easily overlooked. The latter species is much less common, and it has pebbled, blackish nutlets, as long as broad, as opposed to smooth green nutlets longer than broad in P. pumila. In general, P. fontana has the stems more opaque, the upper sides of the leaves less shiny, and the petiole is rather short compared to the blade length.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Greenfruit Clearweed, Richweed, Clearweed, Canada Clearweed
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieTriassic Basin, Cool Springs Road, backup in floodplain of McLendon's Creek, Sept 2018. MoorePhoto_natural
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