What plant is that?

Click on photo below to view larger image

PellitoryPellitory flowersPellitory leaf
Left photo: © Francis R. Underwood 2020
Center and right photo:: © 2008 Katy Chayka, via Minnesota Wildflowers,

The mystery plant for April, 2020 is an annual rarely reported from RI.

I have seen this plant growing at two sites in Rhode Island. The Go Botany site online lists it as not growing in Rhode Island but that is not correct. This plant grows to a height of 12-18” tall.  It is an unbranched annual which sets seeds readily. The stem leaves are untoothed, narrow and lanceolate.  The flowers are small and green and surrounded by narrow bracts attached to the stem. This plant has no petals but it does have four green sepals. It blooms for a period of 1 -2 months or longer. The population that I found is growing in heavy shade, but the plant also grows in sunny areas as well.  The flowers can have separate male and female flowers but a single flower may contain both male and female parts. The flowers produce a single seed.  It is also reported that the flowers attract the Red Admiral butterfly.

It’s. . .

Botanical Name:
Parietaria pensylvanica
Common Name:
  Urticaceae (Nettle Family)
  Open or shaded areas