Pilea matama is a member of the nettle family, Urticaceae.
This family is most well known for the stinging species that are included in the following genera:
Despite being famous for stinging, the majority of the 2,000 species in this family do not sting and consist of small shade-loving herbs found throughout the Tropics.
The genus Pilea is the largest in the Urticaceae family and consists of around 700 species - 60 of which are found in Central America.
Species within Pilea are distinguished by a range of characters including the:
Probably a third of Pilea species have yet to be discovered and described, because few scientists study the Urticaceae family and Pilea is most diverse in wet montane forest - a relatively poorly-collected forest type worldwide.
P. matama most closely resembles a widespread 'new world' species, P. imparifolia Wedd that is distributed throughout Central America and the northern parts of South America where it reaches the Amazon.