Acalypha amentacea Roxb. ssp. wilkesiana (Müll. Arg.) Fosberg
Acalypha wilkesiana Müll. Arg.
Copper leaf, copperleaf
Copper leaf is a shrub that can reach 15' (4.6 m) in height. In photo 3, the variety is probably ‘Marginata’, since its leaves are fringed in red. This plant is native to Fiji and other nearby islands in the South Pacific. It needs rich, moist, well-drained soil. In Florida, it has escaped cultivation in some areas, though it is not common; it is not established outside of Florida.
Identification: The unusual leaf coloration and restricted range in the United States are probably enough to distinguish copper leaf from other plants.
Edibility: Poisonous All parts of copper leaf are highly toxic when ingested, and may cause rashes.
Medical: Recent research (2010) suggests that extracts from this plant are beneficial for the treatment of diabetes, and may lead to future treatments.
Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana on Forest and Kim Starr’s Starr Environmental site (great photos)
Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana on floridata.com
Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana on Wikimedia Commons (photos)
Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 10a-11: