Chenille plant (Acalypha spp.)

Evergreen ornamental shrubs to 3m tall with the exception of A. reptans which is a dwarf prostrate form often grown in hanging baskets or as a ground cover.
The tiny flowers are clustered onto long velvety hanging spikes or catkins, pink, bright red/crimson, purple or sometimes white (cultivar ‘Alba’) in colour. The dense, fluffy spikes can be 5 (in A. reptans) to 30cm long and up to 2cm wide.
Heart-shaped leaves are green, softly hairy, and broadly ovate with pointed tips, 10 to 23cm long, 7 to 10cm wide with a coarsely toothed margin, 3-7 veined from the base. Some cultivars can be smaller, measuring 2 to 3cm long and the same wide.

Toxicity category: 2, 3
Category 2 - Potentially toxicCategory 3 - Irritant
Warning: Seek medical attention if exposure results in symptoms.

Common name: Chenille plant

Botanical name: Acalypha spp. most commonly A. hispida, A. indica, A. pendula, A. reptans

Other common names: Red hot cat’s tails, Kitten tails, Three-seeded mercury

Family: Euphorbiaceae

General description: Evergreen ornamental shrubs to 3m tall with the exception of A. reptans which is a dwarf prostrate form often grown in hanging baskets or as a ground cover.

Flowers: The tiny flowers are clustered onto long velvety hanging spikes or catkins, pink, bright red/crimson, purple or sometimes white (cultivar ‘Alba’) in colour. The dense, fluffy spikes can be 5 (in A. reptans) to 30cm long and up to 2cm wide.

Leaves: Heart-shaped leaves are green, softly hairy, and broadly ovate with pointed tips, 10 to 23cm long, 7 to 10cm wide with a coarsely toothed margin, 3-7 veined from the base. Some cultivars can be smaller, measuring 2 to 3cm long and the same wide.

Fruit/Berries: Fruit is a 3-valved capsule.

Other: –

Symptoms: Ingestion may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Contact with the clear sap can cause severe dermatitis.

Toxicity category: 2, 3
Category 2 - Potentially toxicCategory 3 - Irritant
Warning: Seek medical attention if exposure results in symptoms.

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