Acalypha reptans

Acalypha reptans.

Family Euphorbiaceae.
There is no universal agreement on the correct species name.
Kitten’s Tails are commonly seen under the name Acalypha reptans.
Some say Acalypha pendula is correct, others say A. herzogiana or A. chamaedrifolia.

It is a perennial, trailing groundcover up to 30 cm high.
The leaves are mostly alternate.
The terminal 1 or 2 nodes commonly have a pair of opposite or sub-opposite leaves.
Occasionally the terminal node has a whorl of 3.
The petioles are up to 2 cm long and the wide ovate blades up to 4 cm long by 3 cm wide.
The base is rounded, the tip pointed and the edges are toothed.

The young leaves are densely hairy on both surfaces.
Older leaves have some hairs on both surfaces mainly on the veins.
There are narrow, 2 mm long stipules.

Only female inflorescensces are seen and they are axillary and terminal.
Axillary inflorescences have 1 to 3 or 4 female flowers – not all open at once.
Some are up to 3 cm across but others are smaller.
There are small, lobed bracts with a hairs under reach flower.
There are 3 or 4 hairy sepals around a small ovary with 3 or 4 branched styles.

Terminal inflorescences are spikes up to 8 cm long.
There are dense clusters of tiny flowers, smaller than the axillary ones, along the spike.
They have 3 or 4 sepals without hairs and 3 to 5 branched styles on top of the ovary.
In both situations flowers are mostly red but sometimes pink.