USNM 37517 'Urtica' alaskana Hollick  


Hollick (1930)

Pl. 39 Fig. 1




From Hollick (1930) (p. 73)

"Chignik Lagoon, south side, near entrance, Alaska Peninsula (original No. 49); collected by W. W. Atwood and H. M. Eakin in 1908 (lot 5295)."


Locality Map



From Hollick (1930) (p. 73)

"Plate 39, Figure 1"

"Leaf ovate-lanceolate, narrowed to the apex, rounded to the base; about 7 centimeters in length by 4 centimeters in maximum width; margin coarsely and irregularly dentate, with broad, subtriangular, acute, ascending and spreading teeth; nervation palmate; lateral primaries sharply ascending, with flexuous branches on the outer sides that extend into the adjacent teeth; secondary nerves short, anastomosing and forming a series of angular loops, from the angles of which fine nervilles extend into the teeth."



From Hollick (1930) (p. 73)

"This specimen possesses all the characters of an urticaceous leaf closely similar to the living Urtica dioica Linnaeus. The only fossil leaf heretofore definitely referred to the genus appears to be Urtica miocenica Ettingshausen (1869) (p. 55 [39], pl. 2, fig. 21) from the Miocene of Styria; but this leaf resembles a Populus rather than an Urtica, both in nervation and in dentition, and its reference to the former genus would hardly be questioned today. It may be urged that the nervation of Urtica is very similar to that of certain leaf forms referred to Populus arctica Heer (1868) (p. 100, pl. 5, figs. 2a, 5, 9, 12, etc. ), Populus zaddachi Heer (1868; 1871) (p. 98 pl. 6, fig. 3; p. 468, pl. 44, fig. 6, etc.) Populus daphnogenoides Ward (1886; 1887) (p. 550, pl. 35, figs. 7, 8; p. 20, pl. 7, figs. 4 - 5) etc., and that in view of such similarity it would be more consistent to adopt the genus representing trees with leaves of firm texture rather than a herbaceous genus whose leaves would be less likely to be preserved in a fossil state. The nervation in none of the leaf forms of Populus, however, appears to be identical in every detail with that of the specimen under discussion, nor with that of the species next described under the same genus, and the characters of the marginal dentitions in both are clearly those of Urtica and are different from those of any recognized leaf form or species of Populus.

It is also of interest to note, incidentally, that seeds and fruit of Urtica dioica Linnaeus and Urtica urens Linnaeus, the two living species that most nearly resemble our two fossil species from Alaska, are among the plant remains identified by Sernander (1894), Weber (1914), and the Reids (1907; 1915) in the Pleistocene and Pliocene deposits of Europe."