Urtica ferox. Ongaonga. Tree nettle.
"The ongaonga is said to begin life as a number of small plants, which spread (papa uku) over the ground, and are afterwards replaced by a single large stem." (Best 1902)
Re houhi or lacebark: "The Tuhoe natives call it houhi ongaonga, because they have a belief that it is a mature form of the ongaonga (Urtica ferox), saying that the latter eventually developes a single stem which grows into the large deciduous houhi - a very singular theory" (Best 1907)
Toxic principle, triffydin, has been isolated but not yet characterised ( Fastier & Laws 1975)
Nettle has poisonous stinging hairs. Can kill animals and a fatal poisoning in man has been recorded (Connor 1977).
Tutekoropaka was chased to New Zealand and brought the okaoka (nettle), tātaraheka (lawyer), and tūmatakuru (wild Irishman). He planted them around his hiding place to enable him to elude his pursuers. Tama, who canoed up and down the West Coast looking for his missing wives is also blamed for introducing prickly plants to that area (Hone Taare Tikao, Rāpaki chief, to Beattie. MS 582/I/17, Hocken Archive, Dunedin). Similar tradition related by Anderson 1954.