Poochavalan flower / Acalypha Hispidia

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Acalypha hispida, commonly known as the Chenille plant or Red-hot cat's tail, is a tropical shrub valued for its unique and eye-catching inflorescence. Here's some information about Acalypha hispida:

  1. Appearance: Acalypha hispida is a small to medium-sized shrub that can reach a height of 1 to 3 meters (3 to 10 feet). It has elongated, lance-shaped leaves that are medium to dark green in color. The most distinctive feature of this plant is its showy, long, and pendulous inflorescence. The flowers are densely packed and consist of numerous tiny, red or pink, furry spikes that resemble a fuzzy caterpillar or a fluffy tail.

  2. Cultivation: Acalypha hispida is native to New Guinea and Indonesia but is cultivated in various tropical and subtropical regions as an ornamental plant. It requires a warm and humid climate and thrives in full sun to partial shade. The plant prefers well-draining soil and regular watering to keep the soil moist. It can be grown in pots or containers or planted directly in garden beds.

  3. Inflorescence: The unique inflorescence of Acalypha hispida is the main attraction of this plant. The long, fluffy spikes, which can grow up to 30 to 45 centimeters (12 to 18 inches) in length, are covered in fine hairs that give them a fuzzy appearance. The spikes are primarily red or pink in color, although cultivars with white or yellow flowers are also available. The inflorescence remains attractive for an extended period, making it a focal point in gardens or as a cut flower for floral arrangements.

  4. Maintenance: Acalypha hispida is generally low-maintenance, but it may require some pruning to maintain its shape and size. Pruning can be done after flowering to encourage new growth and a compact form. It is important to handle the plant with care as the flower spikes are delicate and can be easily damaged.

  5. Caution: While Acalypha hispida is generally considered safe, it's worth noting that the plant contains small amounts of chemicals that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals. It's advisable to handle the plant with gloves and keep it out of reach of children and pets.

Acalypha hispida is a captivating and unusual plant, with its striking and fuzzy inflorescence. Whether grown in gardens or used as a potted plant, it adds a touch of uniqueness and visual interest to any tropical or subtropical setting.


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