Keys and habitat from Flora of Bhutan (1983):
1. Leaves in whorls of 3 or 4, pinnately-veined …….. Species 16 (Pilea ternifolia Weddell- 1800- 2400 m. June- August)
-Leaves in opposite pairs, strongly 3-veined …….. 2
2. Leaves of each pair strongly dissimilar in size …… Species 13 (P. anisophylla Weddell- Warm broad-leaved forests, on wet rocks and streamsides, 1050-2100 m. July – October), 14 (P. insolens Weddell- Cool broad-leaved forests; on wet rocks, 2300-2600 m. June-July) &  15 (P. clarkei Hook. f.- Warm broad-leaved forests, 1050- 1500 m. November)
-Leaves of each pair equal or subequal …….. 3
3. Herbs or subshrubs, rarely climbing, stems 30- 200 cm, occasionally smaller ……… 4
-Weak herbs, stems usually less than 15 cm, rarely up to 20 cm …….. 7
4. Leaves entire, rarely with a few minute teeth near apex ……………. Species 1 (P. glaberrima (Blume) Blume; P. smilacifolia Weddell- Warm broad-leaved fo rests, on shady banks, 1100- 1400 m. April- June)
-Leaves serrate or crenate ………. 5
5. Stipules interpetiolar, 1.5- 2 cm, herbaceous, deciduous …………. Species 2 (P. hookeriana Weddell- Subtropical and Warm broad-leaved forests, 750- 2000 m. November)
-Stipules axillary, minute or up to 1 cm, membranous, deciduous or persistent (sometimes with small additional herbaceous interpetiolar stipules) …….. 6
6. Stipules lanceolate or narrowly ovate, 2-5 mm long, deciduous or inconspicuous ……….. Species 3 (P. scripta (D. Don) Weddell- Warm broad-leaved forests, on moist shady slopes, 1000- 1900 m. July- September), 4 (P. symmeria Weddell; P. wightii sensu F.B.I. , p.p. non Weddell- Moist Hemlock/ Rhododendron and Evergreen oak forests, on shaded banks and by streams, 2200- 3300 m. May- July) & 5 (P. martinii (leveille Handel-Mazzetti- Moist forests, 2100-2300 m. July-August)
-Stipules ovate or oblong-lanceolate, 5- 10 mm long, conspicuous, often persistent ……… Species 6 (P. umbrosa Blume- 2000 m. May- September), 7 (P. bracteosa Weddell- Warm and Cool broad-leaved forests, 1200- 2700 m. May- August) &  8 (P. cordifolia Hook. f.- 300-2100 m. July- September)
7. Leaves serrate or crenate ……… Species 9 (P. racemosa (Royle) Tuyarna; P. wightii Weddell var.? roylei Hook.f.- Hemlock and Fir forests, on mossy rocks in ravines, 3140- 4260 m. May- August), 10 (P. approximata Clarke- Fir/Rhododendron and Cool broad-leaved forests, on wet mossy rock faces in ravines, 2500- 3700 m. June- July) & 11 (P. peploides (Gaudichaud) Hooker & Arnott- March- July)
-Leaves entire ……….. Species 12 (?- Amongst shrubs in dry rocky valleys, 1350-1400 m. August)

Pilea angulata (Bl.) Bl. (China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, S-Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan), SE-Tibet, India, Java, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Japan (Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu) as per CoL)


Pilea anisophylla Wedd. (Central Himalaya to China (W. & S. Yunnan): Assam, Bangladesh, China South-Central, East Himalaya, Myanmar, Nepal, Tibet as per POWO)





Pilea martinii (H. Lév.) Hand.-Mazz. (Nepal to Central & S. China: China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, Nepal, Tibet as per POWO)

Pilea melastomoides (Poir.) Wedd. (China (SW-Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, S-Yunnan), Taiwan, SE-Tibet, Java, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar [Burma], Philippines (Luzon) as per Catalogue of Life)




Pilea pubescens Liebm. (Introduced)?

Pilea racemosa (Royle) Tuyama (China (W-Sichuan, NW-Yunnan), S-Tibet, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sikkim as per Catalogue of Life)

Pilea scripta (Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don) Wedd. (S-Tibet, China (W-Yunnan), India, Myanmar [Burma], Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Pakistan (Hazara, Murree), Jammu & Kashmir (Poonch, Kashmir, Jammu) as per Catalogue of life)



Pilea ternifolia Wedd. (S-Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, India, Darjeeling, Bhutan as per Catalogue of Life)

Pilea umbrosa Wall. ex Bl. (S-Tibet, China (NW-Yunnan), Nepal, Bhutan, India (Arunachal Pradesh), Sikkim, Pakistan (Swat, Hazara, Murree), Jammu & Kashmir (Poonch, Jammu, Kashmir), Vietnam as per Catalogue of Life)

Pilea wightii Wedd. (S. India, Sri Lanka, China (Guangxi, Guangdong): China Southeast, India, Sri Lanka as per POWO)


Pilea species- Papum Pare District, Arunachal Pradesh

BSI Flora of India Checklist (Distribution):

Name Distribution
Pilea angulata Kerala, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu
Pilea anisophylla Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim
Pilea approximata Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal
Pilea bracteosa Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, West Bengal
Pilea cadierei Cultivated species
Pilea clarkei Sikkim
Pilea cordifolia Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal
Pilea depressa Cultivated species
Pilea glaberrima Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal
Pilea grandifolia Cultivated species
Pilea hookeriana Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim
Pilea insolens Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya
Pilea kingii Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu
Pilea lancifolia Meghalaya
Pilea martinii Sikkim
Pilea medongensis North India
Pilea melastomoides Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu
Pilea microphylla India Throughout
Pilea minuta Manipur
Pilea mollis Cultivated species
Pilea nummulariifolia Cultivated species
Pilea oxyodon Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal
Pilea pachycarpa Assam (erstwhile)
Pilea peperomioides Cultivated species
Pilea peploides Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
Pilea plataniflora Doubtful Occurrence; Distribution in northern India without specimen reference
Pilea pubescens Cultivated species
Pilea racemosa Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
Pilea scripta var. sacrocarpa Hook.f. (Assam (erstwhile))
var. scripta (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal)
Pilea serpyllifolia Cultivated species
Pilea sinofasciata Sikkim, N India
Pilea squamosa Sikkim, NE India
Pilea symmeria Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, West Bengal
Pilea ternifolia Sikkim, West Bengal
Pilea umbrosa var. umbrosa (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, West Bengal)
var. obesa Wedd. (Uttarakhand)
Pilea victoriae Kerala (Palakkad and Malappuram district – Perinthalmanna), Maharashtra (Chandrapur city)
Pilea wightii Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu

BSI Flora of India Checklist (Distribution):
Aboriella myriantha (Dunn) Bennet (Arunachal Pradesh – Abor Hills (Dihong gorge below Rotung and near Puak on north of Sidi river)) (syn. of Pilea spicata C.J.Chen & A.K.Monro)

Binomial Habit Notes Ref. Distrib.
Pilea angulata (Blume) Blume Herb Western Ghats,
Evergreen Forests
Flora of Tamil
Nadu, VOL. II, 1987; Fischer 1921, Gamble & Fischer 1957
Pilea kingii Fischer Herb Western
Ghats, Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. II, 1987
Coimbatore,  Nilgiri, Theni
Pilea melastomoides (Poir.) Blume Herb Western
Ghats & Eastern Ghats, Moist Deciduous to Evergreen Forests
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. II, 1987
Dindigul,  Kanniya kumari, Namakkal,
Nilgiri, Salem, Theni, Tirunelveli
Pilea microphylla (L.) Liebm. Herb Plains
to  High Altitude, Naturalized, Native
of Tropical America
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. II, 1987
Pilea wightii Wedd.  Herb Western
Ghats, Evergreen Plants
of Tamil Nadu, VOL. II, 1987
Dindigul, Nilgiri, Theni, Tirunelveli


Botanical name Synonyms Family Common name
Pilea cadierei Urticaceae Aluminium Plant
Pilea glaberrima Urtica glaberrima Urticaceae Hairless Clearweed
Pilea microphylla Urticaceae Gunpowder Plant
Pilea racemosa Pilea subalpina, Pilea wightii, Procris racemosa Urticaceae Flowerhead Clearweed
Pilea scripta Pilea nepalensis Urticaceae Himalayan Clearweed
Pilea umbrosa Urticaceae Shady Himalayan Clearweed


Species with description & keys in Flora of Pakistan
Pilea microphylla (Linn.) Liebman.
Pilea scripta Wedd.
Pilea umbrosa Blume


Flora of Ranga Reddi District Andhra Pradesh, India By T. Pullaiah, M. Silar Mohammed (2000- with description)
Pilea microphylla


Forest Plants of Eastern India By Amal Bhusan Chaudhuri (1993-
Pilea smilacifolia a synonym of Pilea glaberrima (Blume) Blume,



Floriculture in India By Gurcharan Singh Randhawa, Amitabha Mukhopadhyay (1986- with description)
Pilea microphylla


Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: (Except … edited by Peter Hanelt, Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, W. Kilian (2001)- Details-
Pilea melastomoides
Pilea microphylla

Hot spots of endemic plants of India, Nepal and Bhutan by M. P. NayarTropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, 1996 – Science252 pages-
Pilea approximata var. approximata : Herb; 2500-3700m; E. Himalaya.
Pilea clarkei Hook.f. : Herb; 1 050 – 1 500m; E. Himalaya.
Pilea racemosa (Royle) Tuyama : Herb; 3000-4200m; E. Himalaya.
Pilea ternifolia Weddell : Herb; 1800-2500m; E. Himalaya …………………

Pilea : 1 post by 1 author.

I have updated eFI (efloraofindia) page on Pilea (Urticaceae)

Attempts have been made to incorporate most of the species available in India & nearby areas with details & keys directly or through links as far as possible. It’s quite possible that there may be some discrepancy in the accepted names & synonyms taken from other links.

Species discussed so far in efloraofindia are given at the bottom of the page in the form of links against Subpages. On clicking them one can see all the details.

If someone can provide complete list of Indian species with source references it will be wonderful.

Any comments/ corrections are welcome.

Pilea- Keys and habitat from Flora of Bhutan : 1 post by 1 author.
I have added keys and habitat along with elevation for Pilea from Flora of Bhutan at efi site at Pilea
I hope by following keys here, we may arrive at tentative ids and subsequently get it verified with detailed descriptions and high resolution species and images in net.

Pl. go throughPilea ‎‎‎(Urticaceae) page with images of species in efloraofindia.

I request you to pl. go through & point out mistakes, if any. I hope this will aid in identifications in future. If anybody can send images of other species of this genera (for incorporation in the website), if any, or can identify unidentified images, it will be really nice.