Acalypha wilkesiana M A

[From Greek, a = without, kalyphos = a cover and after Admiral Charles Wilkes, 19th century American naval officer and explorer in the South Pacific]

Common names: Beef steak plant, copper plant; fire dragon.

Uses: In Malaysia, a beverage consisting of about 60 g of the leaves boiled in goat's milk is drunk to lower blood pressure, treat fever, relieve cough and heal pimples. It is said that about 10 g of the leaves boiled with sugar is used to treat trombocytopenic purpurea and allergic purpurea.

Fig. 194. Acalypha wilkesiana M. A.

Physical description: It is a tropical bush which grows to a height of 1.5 m. It is cultivated for ornamental purposes all over the Asia-Pacific. Leaves: simple, spiral, and reddish. The inflorescences are spikes bearing male flowers at the top and female flowers at the base. The flowers are apetalous and without a nectary disc. The male flowers consist of 4 sepals and 8 free stamens. The female flowers are enclosed in a 5 mm bract. The fruits are small 3-lobed capsules splitting into 3 valves (Fig. 194).

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