Acalypha wilkesiana

Acalypha wilkesiana Müll. Arg.

Common Names: Copper Leaf, Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, Match Me If You Can

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Habit: Acalypha wilkesiana grows as a pubescent shrub to 3 m in height (usually lower).  The leaves are arranged alternately, to 15 cm in length, ovate, with a dentate leaf margin and an acuminate leaf apex.  The leaves can range from red to copper to pink colored and can have amorphous patterns on them. There are lanceolate stipules.

Acalypha wilkesiana is monoecious. The incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary spikes. In staminate flowers the perianth has 4 green fused at the base tepals, 8 stamens and no carpel.  Carpellate flowers are reduced to a perianth bract, no stamens and a superior ovary with 3 locules and seeds.  The fruit is a 3 ridged capsule.

Habitat: Acalypha wilkesiana grows in Human Altered environments (yards).

Distribution: Acalypha wilkesiana is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago.  It is native to the south Pacific and is not distributed around the world as a horticultural species.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Acalypha wilkesiana is used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago to treat pain and circulatory issues.

Toxicity is dosage dependent and ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea.  The sap can cause dermatitis.

It is used in landscaping.