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The most unusual characteristic of this plant is the translucency of the foliage – this has been useful in biology classes to show the uptake of liquids from the roots into the stems and leaves. A less common species of Clearweed, Pilea fontana, has stems that are less translucent and its achenes are black, rather than green. Clearweed resembles other members of the Nettle family as well, but it lacks the stinging hairs that can be found on Urtica dioica (Stinging Nettle) and Laportea canadensis (Wood Nettle). While Boehmeria cylindrica (False Nettle) lacks stinging hairs, its stems aren't translucent and its racemes of flowers are more erect and longer than Clearweed's racemes.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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