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Rhombic Copperleaf Acalypha

Previously known as:

  • Acalyphopsis
  • Calyptrosptha
  • Caturus
  • Corythea
  • Cupameni
  • Gymnalypha
  • Linostachys
  • Mercuriastrum
  • Odonteilema
  • Schizogyn
  • Usteria
Phonetic Spelling
ACK-ah-lee-fah
Description

Acalypha is a flowering plant genus and the largest genus in the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. However, the genus Acalypha does not have the latex that is usually found in spurges. There are 431 species in this genus some of which are native to the US. Its members can be annuals, perennials, houseplants, shrubs, small trees, or even ground covers. They are found all over the world but mostly in tropical and subtropical areas. The genus name comes from the Greek word for "nettle" as the leaves resemble those of nettles. 

They are often grown as ornamentals for their foliage and they have very showy pendulous inflorescences.  Generally they require low to medium maintenance with similar requirements for watering. They are best used as an accent plant as the very showy leaves make them stand out. Plant too many and they can overpower your other plantings. Those with less showy leaves can also be used as a hedge along a border or near a patio or pool.  Acalypha also work well in containers or having their inflorescence dangle from a hanging basket. In cooler climates they are grown as a houseplant.

 

  

 

VIDEO Created by Laura Barth for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
A. gracilens, A. hispida, A. poiretii, A. rhomboidea, A. virginica, A. wilkesiana
Tags:
#showy flowers#small tree#pink flowers#red flowers#showy leaves#colorful leaves#interiorscape#accent plant#hanging baskets#tropical perennials#ornamentals#house plant#border planting#poolside planting#patio planting#tropical feel#tropical annual#container plants#hsc#hsc-fl
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
A. gracilens, A. hispida, A. poiretii, A. rhomboidea, A. virginica, A. wilkesiana
Tags:
#showy flowers#small tree#pink flowers#red flowers#showy leaves#colorful leaves#interiorscape#accent plant#hanging baskets#tropical perennials#ornamentals#house plant#border planting#poolside planting#patio planting#tropical feel#tropical annual#container plants#hsc#hsc-fl
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acalypha
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The Cherokee use the plant to treat kidney ailments, dropsy, pox and gravel.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Leaf Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America to tropical and subtropical regions
    Distribution:
    The plant can be found in North, Central and South America; Hawaii; Northwestern and Southern Africa; the Saudi Peninsula; Europe; China; India; Indonesia and Australia.
    Wildlife Value:
    The seeds are eaten by birds. Acalypha filiformis is a host to the Neptis Frobena butterfly.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 12 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Ground Cover
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Tree
    Habit/Form:
    Cascading
    Weeping
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small 3-lobed capsule which splits and falls when ripe. Each lobe has one seed. These fruit are sometimes eaten by birds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers of this genus are quite small but the inflorescences can be as long as 18 inches. The most common inflorescence is a flaccid spike that appears in the axis of the leaves or at the end of a branch. These hang down in a very attractive way, especially when the flowers are in the shades of red through pink. There are some species with non-showy, short greenish yellow inflorescences. The plants are usually monoecious (both male and female parts on the same plant), but some are dioecious (female parts on one plant; male parts on another)
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Rhomboidal
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves of this genus come in all sizes, from just over 1inch to 8 inches long. The same is true of the shape. The leaves can be heart shaped, elliptical to lanceolate, oblong and even rhomboidal. But no matter the size or shape they are all simple and carried alternately with a rough, nettle-like surface. Some have stipules; some have crenated or serrated edges; some have palmate venation and others pennate (arranged on each side of the midvein similarly to the barbs of a feather). The one we use in the garden frequently have leaves that are mottled in combinations of green, purple, yellow, orange, pink or white, but usually the leaves are green - light, mid or dark. Most species have leaves that turn reddish brown in the autumn, hence the common name 'Copperleaf'.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems of this genus are straight, sparsely pubescent, branched and usually green or reddish brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies