Tragia urens

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Tragia urens
Tragia urens 1.jpg
Photo by Kevin Robertson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Tragia
Species: T. urens
Binomial name
Tragia urens
TRAG UREN dist.jpg
Natural range of Tragia urens from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Wavyleaf noseburn, Southeastern noseburn

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Tragia linearifolia Elliott.[1]


"Monoecious, perennial, rhizomatous herbs, armed with stinging trichomes. Leaves alternate, stipulate. Racemes axillary or terminal, or both, lowest 1 or 2 flowers pistillate, the upper staminate. Flowers greenish or purplish; petals absent; staminate flowers with 3-5 sepals and 2 or 3 stamens; pistillate with 3-8 sepals and 3 stigmas. Capsule 3-locular, 4-5 mm long, 7-8 mm in diam., each locule 1-seeded. Seeds light brown with darker mottling, or entirely dark brown, ovoid, 3-3.5 mm long; caruncle obsolete."[2]

"Plant 2-5 dm tall, freely branched. Leaves narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate or linear, 2-10 cm long, 0.2-2 cm wide, irregularly serrate, undulate or entire, base cuneate to attenuate; petioles 1-3 mm long. Racemes short or elongate, 0.3-12 cm long."[2]

The root system of Tragia urens includes stem tubers which store non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) important for both resprouting following fire and persisting during long periods of fire exclusion.[3] Diaz-Toribio and Putz (2021) recorded this species to have an NSC concentration of 137 mg/g (ranking 41 out of 100 species studied) and water content of 52.2% (ranking 20 out of 100 species studied).[3]




In the Coastal Plain in Florida and Georgia, T. urens has been found in sand of open woodlands, pine uplands, fallow fields, annually burned pineland, sandhills, sand pine scrub, longleaf pine/wiregrass communities, and open pine savannas.[4] Associated species include longleaf pine, sand pine, and wiregrass.[4] T. urens has shown regrowth in reestablished South Carolina coastal plain communities that were disturbed by agriculture, making it a possible indicator species for post-agricultural woodlands.[5] However, in some areas of South Carolina it was unaffected by agricultural practices.[6]

Tragia urens is frequent and abundant in the Peninsula Xeric Sandhills and Panhandle Xeric Sandhills community types and is an indicator species for the North Florida Subxeric Sandhills community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[7]


T. urens has been observed flowering in April, May, and July and fruiting May through September.[8]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by ants and/or explosive dehiscence.[9]

Fire ecology

Populations of Tragia urens have been known to persist through repeated annual burns.[10][11][12]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draf of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 665. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Diaz-Toribio, M.H. and F. E. Putz 2021. Underground carbohydrate stores and storage organs in fire-maintained longleaf pine savannas in Florida, USA. American Journal of Botany 108: 432-442.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: July 2015. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, R. A. Norris, Robert K. Godfrey, Andre F. Clewell, Chris Cooksey, M. Davis, J. M. Kane, R. Komarek, Lisa Keppner, Cecil R Slaughter, Annie Schmidt. States and Counties: Florida: Duval, Franklin, Gadsden, Jackson, Leon, Osceola, Wakulla, Washington. Georgia: Thomas. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  5. Brudvig, L.A., E Grman, C.W. Habeck, and J.A. Ledvina. (2013). Strong legacy of agricultural land use on soils and understory plant communities in longleaf pine woodlands. Forest Ecology and Management 310: 944-955.
  6. Brudvig, L.A., J.L. Orrock, E.I. Damschen, C.D. Collins, P.G. Hahn, W.B. Mattingly, J.W. Veldman, and J.L. Walker. (2014). Land-Use History and Contemporary Management Inform an Ecological Reference Model for Longleaf Pine Woodland Understory Plant Communities. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86604.
  7. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  8. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 14 DEC 2016
  9. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  10. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  11. Glitzenstein, J. S., D. R. Streng, R. E. Masters, K. M. Robertson and S. M. Hermann 2012. Fire-frequency effects on vegetation in north Florida pinelands: Another look at the long-term Stoddard Fire Research Plots at Tall Timbers Research Station. Forest Ecology and Management 264: 197-209.
  12. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.