Boehmeria biloba

Common Name: false nettle 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Urticaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pale green to creamy white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Tolerate: Drought, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerant of poor, rocky, and shallow soils, salt spray, and drought once established. The stems can be pruned back to the base in late winter before new growth emerges. Hardy in Zones 7-10.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Boehmeria biloba, commonly called sandpaper plant, lobster claw nettle, or false nettle, is a semi-woody perennial or sub-shrub native to volcanic, rocky cliffs and disturbed areas along seashores and roadsides of Japan. Mature plants will reach 1.5-3' tall with a similar spread. The robust, pubescent, upright stems emerge from a branched, woody rootstock. The thick, rough-textured leaves reach around 5.5" long and 3.5" wide and are quite variable in shape. Most are elliptic to ovate with two, asymmetrical lobes at the tips of the leaves, but the tips may also be rounded or pointed with no lobes or three lobes. Linear flowering spikes reaching 3-6" long bloom from the leaf axils in summer. The flowers are small and pale green to creamy white in color.

Genus name honors George Rudolf Boehmer (1723-1803), professor of botany and anatomy at Wittenberg, Germany.

The specific epithet biloba means "two lobes", in reference to the shape of the leaves of this species.

The common name sandpaper plant refers to the rough, sandpaper-like texture of the leaves of this plant. The common name lobster claw nettle refers to the two, asymmetrical lobes at the tips of most of the leaves.


No known pest or disease problems.


A coarsely textured accent for large containers, rock gardens, coastal gardens, or mixed borders.