Sunday, May 5, 2013

Acalypha hispida 'Rabo de Gato'

Acalypha hispida (Euphorbia Family)
These days members of the Euphorbia family (Euphorbiaceae) get bad press, especially on the Internet, and are associated with various warnings about poisonings or allergic reactions when gardening with them or when handling the plants. No such warnings for this one however as this plant is worth growing for the unusual tassel like flowers which extend to some 30 cm within the plants foliage. It is a bit of a tropical beauty, originating in Oceania but widely grown as an indoor plant in cooler regions.
As a shrub it can grow up to 2 metres or more but obviously will stay smaller in a pot. For many years I have grown and sold the small version Acalypha reptans which is more of a ground cover plant or hanging basket specimen. It is quite hardy for me and flowers for most of the year so I am hoping the same goes for this species. Only time, and the kind of winter we get, will tell. Watch this space for when plants become available. Propagation is usually by cuttings in the warmer months.

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