Systematics Section / ASPT
Steinmann, Victor Werner , Levin, Geoffrey .
The cultivated species of Acalypha (Euphorbiaceae)The cultivated species of Acalypha (Euphorbiaceae).
THE genus Acalypha L. (Euphorbiaceae) contains approximately 450 species of herbs, shrubs and small trees. It is widely distributed, and the center of diversity is in the Neotropics, where nearly 2/3 of the species occur. Although important floristically, it is of relatively little economic value, with the exception of three species cultivated as ornamentals. Interestingly, none of these are known in the wild. Acalypha amentacea Roxb. ssp. wilkesiana (Müll.Arg.) Fosberg and A. hispida Burm.f. are shrubs that probably came from Polynesia. The first is cultivated for its variegated leaves and the second for its showy red axillary inflorescences. Both have been grown for centuries and molecular data suggest that they are closely related. The third cultivated species is a perennial herb with inflorescences resembling those of A. hispida but terminal and shorter. It is encountered in the horticultural trade as A. reptans Sw., but this name is a synonym of A. chamaedrifolia (Lam.) Müll.Arg., a Caribbean species. We have been unable to find a valid name for this species and conclude that it is still undescribed. Although its precise origin is unknown, molecular data suggest a close relation to A. claussenii (Turcz.) Müll.Arg., a Brazilian species. Thus, it is probably native to South America. The first records that we have encountered are from the 1980s. As in A. hispida, it is dioecious and known only from sterile pistillate plants.
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1 - Instituto De Ecología A.C., Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas 253, Apartado Postal 386, 61600 Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, , Mexico
2 - Illinois Natural History Survey, Center for Wildlife & Plant Ecology, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, Illinois, 61820-6970, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Auditorium/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 12:30 PM