Botanical name: Acalypha
Botanical name: Acalypha
Copperleafs are flowering plants that are mostly native to tropical and subtropical regions. Copperleafs are named as so because many species in the genus have leaves and stems that turn a brilliant, coppery shade of red during the fall. While some species are grown for their foliage, others are grown for their vibrant racemes. Whatever the case, copperleafs are great additions to any garden.
Species of Copperleafs
Asian copperleaf or Acalypha australis is a perennial weed with spikes of small, copper-red flowers. Once thought to be found only in the New York area, this weed has also been discovered throughout the United States.
The foliage of the indian acalypha (Acalypha indica) grows wild in balmy areas around the equator. The foliage contains hydrocyanic acid, which is incredibly poisonous, so extreme caution should be had when handling this plant. It grows as a weed in the poor soils along roadsides and has little to no ornamental value in the landscape.
Common three-seeded mercury
The common three-seeded mercury is considered a weed and has a wide distribution in the United States everywhere East of the Rocky Mountains. The name of this plant comes from Greek mythology and references the small bracts surrounding the flowers that resemble Mercury’s winged sandals.
Hornbeam copperleaf (Acalypha persimilis) is summer annual that grows from 30 to 61 cm tall. It has large leaves and male and female flowers growing on the same bush. Cylindrical spikes with dense masses of tiny white flowers bloom from summer to fall. Female flowers are replaced by seed capsules that open when ripe and are dispersed by wind. This species prefers full sun to partial shade.
The dwarf chenille is a flowering plant native to southern Florida with fuzzy red flower spikes that look like cat’s tails. It is widely grown as ornamentals in parks and small gardens, and it is frequently used in hanging baskets. This plant does well in a monsoonal setting.
Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana) is an evergreen shrub native to the Pacific Islands. Copperleaf is a popular outdoor plant used for ornamental cultivation due to its brightly colored leaves. It is particularly popular in Florida in the United States.
Virginia threeseed mercury
Virginia threeseed mercury (Acalypha virginica) is an herbaceous annual plant native to the eastern United States. Virginia threeseed mercury grows in woodlands and riverbank environments. This plant is considered an ecologically secure species, and is not endangered.
Red hot cat's tail
Red hot cat's tail (Acalypha hispida) is an evergreen shrub that grows in tropical climates. Red hot cat's tail is named for the French word, Chenille, meaning caterpillar. This is due to its fuzzy red flowers that resemble a caterpillar. This plant grows best in full sunlight.