PLANTS: Perennial herbs to 50 cm tall; stems erect, branching above, densely covered with short recurved hairs and sparsely hirsute. LEAVES: elliptic to obovate, or the lower almost round, 2-6 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, ciliate and sparsely to moderately hirsute on both surfaces; apex and base acute; margin serrate on the distal 2/3, entire below; petioles about 1-8 mm long, less than 0.2 as long as the blade, with pubescence like the stems. SPIKES: mainly terminal, dense, 2.5-10 cm long, pistillate below and staminate above, often conspicuously red in flower because of the stigmas and the staminate bracts; bracts subtending pistillate flowers 5-12 mm long, with 5-7 lobes about 1/3 the length of the bract, sparsely hispid and ciliate and with a few yellowish stalked glands. ALLOMORPHIC FLOWERS: infrequent, when present replacing staminate portion of spike, pedicelled; ovary bilobed, hispid. FRUIT: ca. 2 mm long, ca. 2.7 mm wide, hispid mainly near the apex. SEEDS: 1.5-2 mm long, brown or yellowish, very finely pitted. NOTES: Along creeks and in grasslands and oak woodlands: Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz cos.; 1300-1950 m (4200-6400 ft); Jun-Oct; NM, TX; n Mex. This species may not be distinct from A. phleoides Cav., which ranges through much of Mex. REFERENCES: Levin, Geoffrey A. Euphorbiaceae. Part 1. Acalypha and Cnidoscolus. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 29(1): 18.
Levin 1995, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougal 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Shrubby to suffrutescent perennials, to 50 cm tall, stems erect, branching above, densely covered with short recurved hairs and sparsely hirsute. Leaves: Alternate, elliptic to obovate or the lower almost round, 2-6 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, ciliate and sparsely to moderately hirsute on both surfaces, apex and base acute, margins serrate on the upper two-thirds, entire below, petioles about 1-8 mm long, with pubescence like the stems. Flowers: Small, crimson, petals absent, unisexual, staminate flowers several to numerous in the axil of each bract, with 4 sepals, 6-8 stamens, and distinct filaments, pistillate flowers 1-2 in the axil of each bract, with 3 sepals, pistillate bracts with up to 6 large, acute teeth, with a few yellowish glands on the pistillate bracts only, styles dissected into filiform segments, borne in terminal and axillary spikes and racemes, often conspicuously red in flower because of the stigmas and the staminate bracts. Fruits: Capsule with 3 cells, to 2 mm long and 3 mm wide, hispid near the apex. Seeds small, ovoid, 1.5-2 mm long, brown or yellowish, very finely pitted. Ecology: Found along creeks and in grasslands and oak woodlands; 4,500-6,500 ft (1372-1981 m); flowering June-October. Distribution: s AZ, s NM, TX; south to s MEX. Notes: Distinguished by being a perennial, often with many stems spreading to ascending from the base; simple, alternate leaves; a spike inflorescence of densely-stacked flowers with leaf-like bracts below each one; the spikes pink-red in this species. Differentiated from the similar A. pringlei by only having only a few stipitate glands on bracts below female (pistillate) flowers whereas A. pringlei has stipitate glands covering the inflorescence; A. phleiodes has 6 large acute teeth on bracts below female (pistillate) flowers (see bottom pic) while pringlei has 9-17 small obtuse teeth. Pringlei is also a more glandular plant in general. (The other Acalypha species in Arizona are all annual.). Look for this species under A. lindheimeri in older texts. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: The meaning of Acalypha is unknown, while phleoides means resembling genus Phleum. Synonyms: Acalypha lindheimeri Editor: LCrumbacher 2011, FSCoburn 2015