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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - April 06, 2015

From: West Columbia, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Searching for Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana (copperleaf)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Some species of Acalypha are natives, but the one I'm looking for is Copper Plant or Acalypha amentacea/wilkesiana. Can you give me a source where I can order seed? When I was kid working at a local nursery here in West Columbia, TX these were quite popular, but I've not seen them in years.

ANSWER:

The species that you are looking for, Acalypha amentacea ssp. wilkesiana (Wilke's acalypha or copperleaf), is not native to North America.  It does occur in Florida as as a naturalized, introduced species but it is native to Fiji and other Pacific Islands.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden and Floridata.

Our Native Plant Database shows 10 species of Acalypha that are native to North America with Texas having 8 of those.  Only one of those eight is shown to be commercially available, Acalypha radians (Cardinal's feather).  You can see the native Acalypha species on our Native Plant Database by entering "Acalypha" in the Name slot on the search page.  You can then limit the 10 species to only those native to Texas by selecting "Texas" in the Select State or Province slot in NARROW YOUR SEARCH in the sidebar.

To search for nurseries or seed companies who might have the native species available for sale you can visit our National Suppliers Directory.  To find nurseries and seed companies in Texas, first click on the List all Suppliers link, then enter "Texas" into the Enter the Location slot. 

To find your non-native species you will need to look at nurseries that sell introduced cultivars.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cardinal's feather
Acalypha radians

Cardinal's feather
Acalypha radians

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