This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Herbs with opposite petiolate glabrous leaves, brightly coloured in the cultivated forms. Flowers tribracteate, polygamous or dioecious. Perianth 5-parted. Stamens 5. Fruit a 1-seeded indehiscent utricle. A small genus whose species are nearly all from tropical America. The name is from in allusion to the woolly branches and inflorescence of some of the species.
1. I. Herbstii. - This plant has very handsome foliage variegated with purplish red and dark violet, or in a variety called aureo-retieulata with yellow. A native of Brazil.
I. Lindeni is another plant with ornamental foliage referred to this genus, but in the absence of flowers there is some doubt of its affinities.
Gomphrena globosa (fig. 211), Globe Amaranth, a pretty annual, is sometimes planted out in sheltered situations. There are crimson, purple, and white varieties. The flowers and bracts being dry and scarious, they will keep their colour throughout the winter if cut at the right time, and are therefore desirable for mixing with other everlasting flowers. Native of the East Indies.
The genus Alternanthera furnishes several dwarf tufted plants with small coloured leaves: A. spoathulata, A. sessilis var. amoena, etc., are already widely diffused in gardens.
Fig. 211. Gomphrena globosa. (1/2 nat. size.)