This article is an English version from the previous publication on my Facebook.  The first time I publish in the Indonesian version, peoples share many times. Pulus (Laportea stimulans), become one of most the dangerous plant in Indonesia

Pulus Dangerous plant
Pulus (Laportea stimulans)

2 Years Suffering Causing By Pulus, An Example Evidence Of The Dangerous Effect

Just call her “Rose”. A young woman who was still in high school at that time. She joins with outdoor activities in the forest. The location is near Burangrang mountain.  On one occasion, she peed around her shelter, no tissue and a bit worry to went to water.

She then cleans herself with the leaves she got near her. What happens? She didn’t realize that she choose Pulus leaves (Laportea stimulant). finally, she needs 2 years of suffering.  The suffering is a result of his ignorance.

Most recently, one of the committees at the outdoor training also suffering. Her left hand was “stung” by a Pulus leaf. She felt pain and fever all night. Some story above is just examples how Pulus became one of the dangerous plants in Indonesia

Why Pulus (Laportea Stimulans) become One Of Dangerous Plant

Pulus (Laportea stimulant) is indeed very well-known for people who live in West Java. Especially those who live near the forest in the mountains. Pulus (Laportea stimulans) can be found easily in the medium tropical rain forest. Especially on the western island of Java. Peoples has known Pulus (Laportea stimulans) as one of dangerous plant

An eudikotil, perennial, and belongs to Urticaceae family. Pulus also called wood nettle or stinging nettle. It has the ability to “sting” the human skin that touches it.

The impact after being stung was a combination of pain, heat, itching, to inflammation. Of course, symptoms vary depending on the type of species,  the exposure time, and the fitness/endurance of the person. In general, symptoms will be remaining for 3-10 days after the stung.

Urticaceae Family

The Urticaceae family currently has many species spread around the world. For detail, you can find at In Indonesia, the family of Urticaceae, also found several other species, both from the genus Laportea and from the genus Urtica.

Actually, there are also many beneficial plants among the Urticaceae. Such as Rami (Boehmeria nivea). Rami becomes one of the potential fiber materials for textile.  Furthermore, other species are Poh-pohan (Pilea triervia), Nangsi (Vellbrunea rubescens), Totongoan (Debregeasia longifolia) which is edible and delicious as the food.

How can pulus plant sting?

What exactly happened?. Firstly, if we see closely, Pulus have fine hairs (trichomes) that are numerous and dense on all surfaces of their organs. These trichomes are actually contained chemical compounds, which causing pain.

Secondly, the edges are forming from silica of calcium carbonate compounds which are brittle and break easily. Each trichomes tube contains a thick solution containing two classes of chemical compounds, namely acid compounds and brain hormones (neurotransmitters).

The chemicals causing pain

According to sources from  there are 3 neurotransmitters known to exist in Pulus trichomes. Histamine, Acetylcholine, and Serotonin. While the main acid compounds in pulmonary trichomes are formic acid and oxalic acid.

When interaction happens between the trichome and our skin, the silica hood of the trichome will damage. And the “needle”, will directly inject these chemical compounds into the epidermal layer of the skin.

When these neurotransmitters entering the epidermic skin layer, our nociceptors/pain receptors then directly proceed to the brain. Formic acid is the main actor that causing pain. and the neurotransmitters will provide a burning sensation, itching, and other symptoms.

The sensation of the stung was the effect of the high concentration of chemical compounds in the trichomes which quickly entering our skin cells. To conclude the article, when you visiting the Indonesian rain forest, especially in the West Java area, just be careful with the Pulus, one of the most dangerous plant in Indonesia


  • Billyardi Ramdhan et. Al. 2015.  Ethnomedical herb from Cikondang indigenous village, district Bandung West Java Indonesia .  Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences

Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses


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