Siamese Acalypha
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Siamese Acalypha
aturalized Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Siamese Acalypha, wild tea
Botanical name: Acalypha siamensis    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Wild Tea is a shrub growing up to 2.5 m tall. Its leaves are alternately arranged, with blades that are elliptic to obovate, and toothed along the margins. The bisexual spike bears female flowers subtended by large bracts with toothed margins at the lower end, and male flowers subtended by minute bracts towards the tip. Flowering occurs almost throughout the year from January to November. The globose to oblate fruits are trilobed and covered with spines. Dispersal of Acalypha species has not been well studied, but the typical explosively dehiscent fruits in the family Euphorbiaceae and the spines on its fruits suggest that Acalypha siamensis may spread mechanically and/or by animals. Wild Tea is found in Thailand, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Sulawesi.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Tamil Nadu.

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