Acalypha hispida

Acalypha hispida – Red Hot Cat’s Tail.

Family Euphorbiaceae.
Chenille Plants are shrubs that grow to 2 to 3 m high.
Most of the hairs on the young stems and petioles gradually disappear.
The alternate, broadly ovate leaves, are up to 20 cm long and 10 cm wide.
The base of the blade is rounded, the tip pointed and the edges toothed.
There are a few hairs on the veins.
The slightly hairy stipules are around 6 mm long.

Plants are either male or female.
Only female plants are grown as the male flowers are not as attractive.
They are propagated by cuttings.

Female inflorescences are drooping, axillary spikes to up to 50 cm long.
The stalkless flowers, with minute bracts, are densely packed on the spikes.
Flowers have 3 or 4 sepals a few mms long and no petals.

The tiny 3-carpelled ovary is densely covered in white hairs.
The 3 branched styles, with hairy bases, are up to 7 mm long.
They are commonly bright red but can be pink, white or purplish.
The catkins remain for a long time gradually turning brown.