Overview

Brief Summary

Chenille plant is an erect, sparsely branched shrub that can get 6-12 ft (1.8-3.7 m) high with a spread of 3-6 ft (0.9-1.8 m). Potted plants are kept considerably smaller. The evergreen leaves are oval, 4-9 in (10-23 cm) long, 3-4 in (7.6-10 cm) wide, and pointed on the tips. Chenille plant is dioecious, meaning that the staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers are on separate plants. The pistillate flowers are purple, bright red or crimson, and clustered in velvety catkins, 8-20 in (20-51 cm) long and an inch in diameter. They are dense and fluffy, like a cat's tail, and they appear intermittently throughout the whole year as long as conditions are favorable.
Chenille plant is native to New Guinea, the Malay Archipelago and other islands in the East Indies.
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Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Plains to Mid Altitude, Cultivated, Native of Polynesian Region"
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Distribution

"Maharashtra: Ahemdnagar, Pune Karnataka: Mysore Kerala: Alapuzha, Kozhikode, Malapuram Tamil Nadu: All districts"
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Fujian, Guangdong, S Guangxi, Hainan, Taiwan, S Yunnan [widely cultivated; origin possibly Bismarck Archipelago].
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs, 1-3 m tall. Branchlets grayish tomentulose when young. Stipules triangular, 6-10 mm, pilose; petiole 4-8 cm; leaf blade broadly ovate or ovate, 8-20 × 5-14 cm, papyraceous, base broadly cuneate, obtuse, or subcordate, margin coarsely serrate, apex acuminate or acute; basal veins 3-5. Plants dioecious. Only female flowers known. Female flowers 3-7 in each bract, fascicled, subsessile; spikes 15-30 cm, axillary, pendulous; peduncle short, pubescent; bracts scattered, ovate-rhombic, ca. 1 mm, entire; sepals (3 or)4, subovate, ca. 1 mm, acute, puberulent; ovary subglobose, densely hirtellous; styles 3, 5-7 mm, laciniate, crimson or red-purple. Fl. Feb-Nov.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Shrub
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Ecology

Habitat

Cultivated in gardens; below 100-200 m.
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General Ecology

Culture

Light: Full sun to partial shade. Best flowering is on plants in full sun.

Moisture: Chenille plant needs a humid environment and frequent watering during the summer growing season.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 10B - 12. Chenille plant does not tolerate frost.

Propagation: Propagate chenille plant from cuttings taken in summer. Best results come from semi-ripe wood tip cuttings with a heel.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acalypha hispida

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Usage

Chenille plant can be grown in a container on the patio or porch, and brought indoors during cold weather. It looks great in a large hanging basket with its fluffy crimson tassels hanging over the sides. It also can be kept as a houseplant in a bright location, but it will require frequent and heavy pruning, as well as regular misting in an air conditioned room. A common practice is to take cuttings every year and have new young and vigorous plants constantly coming on.

In frost free climates, grow this striking ornamental as a free standing specimen shrub or give it a prominent position in a mixed border or hedge.

The brightly colored pendulous tassels of chenille plant are extremely showy, and a specimen in full bloom is a spectacular sight.

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Wikipedia

Acalypha hispida

Acalypha hispida, the Chenille plant, is a flowering shrub which belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae,[1] the subfamily Acalyphinae, and the genus Acalypha. Acalypha is the fourth largest genus of the Euphorbiaceae family, and contains many plants native to Hawaii and Oceania.[2] This plant is also known as the Philippines Medusa, red hot cat's tail and fox tail in English, pokok ekor kucing in Malay, Rabo de Gato in Portuguese and Tai tượng đuôi chồn in Vietnamese. Acalypha hispida is cultivated as a house plant because of its attractiveness and brilliantly colored, furry flowers.

Origins[edit]

The plant originated in Oceania,[2] but has become naturalized to multiple countries in North America, including the United States, Mexico, and Belize. It can grow to be five[1] to twelve feet (1.8-3.7 meters) tall, and have a spread of three to six feet (0.9-1.8 meters), with potted plants being the smallest in growth.[2] The plant has become somewhat domesticated, due to the nature and color of its flowers. It can be grown from seeds as well as from cuttings. It can be kept either as an outdoor plant or as a houseplant. However, care should be taken in growing it, as all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested by animals.

Characteristics[edit]

The plant is dioecious, and therefore there are distinct male and female members of the species. The female plant bears pistillate flowers which range in color from purple to bright red, and grow in clusters along catkins.[2] This feature is the primary reason the plant bears the nickname “red-hot cat tail”. The pistillates will grow all year long as long as the temperatures are favorable.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Acalypha hispida Chenille Plant". University of Florida. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Acalypha hispida". Floridata. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
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Notes

Comments

This species is cultivated as an ornamental.
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