These are cultivated chiefly for their ornamental foliage, and are now becoming fairly popular for producing sub-tropical effects during the summer months. The leaves resemble those of large limes or elms, being toothed on the margin, and varying from a deep bronze to crimson brown in colour, and in one case (A. marginata) having the edges coloured carmine. The individual blossoms are inconspicuous, but in the case of A, hispida (or Sanderi) (fig. 258) they are produced in great profusion, drooping spikes 18 to 24 in. long, resembling bell-pulls, or huge bright-crimson hairy caterpillars. Other species are Chantrieri, Godseffiana, Wilkesiana (or tricolor), Macafeana, macrophylla, musaica, obovata, and triwmphans - all natives of Polynesia, the New Hebrides, etc. They are all easily raised from cuttings of the young shoots or from eyes inserted in sandy soil in spring in a temperature of 70° to 80° F., and kept close, moist, and shaded for a time. When well rooted they are potted up and grown on in a cooler temperature, and allowed plenty of sunlight to develop the colour. Plants attain a large size, but small subjects in 5-in. or 6-in. pots are best for sale. They like plenty of moisture during growth, and copious syringings.

Fig. 258   Acalypha Sanderi.

Fig. 258. - Acalypha Sanderi.