Help In Identification.

brownthumb65(8B Florida)September 5, 2009

Hi All,

I don't have a digital camera but please copy and paste this link and this is what I just bought.

It is about 3 feet tall now and 1.5 ft wide It is so different that I just had to buy it!

I have searched the internet and it seems like everyone has a different name for this plant. It is listed as a: Acalypha wilkesiana 'Mardi Gras' aka. 'Cypress Elf'...Copperleaf.....Acalypha 'Firestorm'

Acalypha godseffiana.....Inferno.... ÂMacafeanaÂ

Why such problems with the naming of this plant? Why so many discrepancies?


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I don't think they are referring to exactly the same plant :-) There are numerous cultivars of Acalypha wilkesiana that have slightly different coloring, leaf shape or size......'Mardi Gras' is just one. Think of coleus - 100's of different cultivars, sometimes with only a slight variation in colors or leaf shape, but distinctly different varieties nonetheless.

btw, 'Godseffiana', 'Inferno', Firestorm' and 'Macafeena' are all separate cultivars of A. wilkesiana, each with a somewhat different appearance. Copperleaf, Jacob's Coat, beefsteak plant, chenille plant are all common names (or nicknames) for various species of Alcalypha. The real confusion - and it is slight - is that 'Mardi Gras' is also sometimes referred to as 'Cypress Elf', as Cypress Gardens, FL was where the plant was discovered and it entered the trade under that name.

You do realize this plant will not be hardy for is a tropical plant sold as an annual for seasonal foliage color and requires a totally frost-free evironment to survive. Zone 10 or above.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 9:49AM
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brownthumb65(8B Florida)

Thanks again! Why would these places sell tropical plants when we are not in a tropical zone? Just to make money off unsuspecting customers? Grrr!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 12:46PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

No, nurseries sell plants and expect customers to be knowledgeable enough to know if something is hardy enough to survive in their gardens based on the information they supply and the customer's growing zone. The first thing I do when I see a plant is to find out its growing requirements and hardiness zone--easily enough done in this day and age with the aid of Google or other online resources.

Another point of view is that there are many people who grow tropicals and treat them as annuals or who have greenhouses/cold houses/etc. where the plants can be stored over the winter. I have done this several times in the past with plants which are not hardy in my zone.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 3:51PM
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brownthumb65(8B Florida)

AHHHHH! Thanks nckvilledudes! Good ideas!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 10:59PM
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All manner of tropical and subtropical plants are sold in nurseries and elsewhere all the time. In many cases, these are plants that are marketed or treated as annuals or single season plants, even though their life cycle under natural, native growing conditions would be much longer. And too, many are sold as houseplants, with the intent that these be grown indoors -- at least during colder weather -- in less suitable climates. Just as Miguel described :-)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 10:45AM
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