Kenya Natural History Guide >>> Plants >>> Euphorbiaceae >>> Copper-leaf

Copper Leaf

Acalypha wilkesiana (?)

a variety of copper leaf, Acalypha, photo © by Michael Plagens

Conspicuous foliage of Acalypha sp. observed in a Nairobi garden, Kenya, Africa. April 2011.

flowers of copper leaf, Acalypha, photo © by Michael Plagens

Many garden websites report that copperleaf flowers are inconspicuous or that there are none. On the contrary, a close look reveals fanciful, feathery stigmas and showy red bracts. This spike of flowers is about 8 cm long. Kenya, Africa. April 2011.

Species of Acalypha are showy and many are widely planted in gardens. Flowers and leaves are deep red mixed with green and white. The plant shown here was shrubby and about one-and-a-half meters tall. I didn't see any sign of leaf-feeding by insects and this suggests that this is a non-native species. Mostly less showy species are native to Kenya, but this one may be native to tropical Pacific Islands as is A. wilkesiana.

Euphorbiaceae -- Spurge Family

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Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Created on 15 September 2011