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Vascular Plants of California
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Acalypha californica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: EuphorbiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub, tree [vine, cactus-like succulent]; monoecious or dioecious; sap clear or milky. Stem: generally branched [fleshy or spiny]. Leaf: generally simple, alternate to whorled, generally stipuled, sessile or petioled; blade entire, toothed, or lobed. Inflorescence: flowers solitary or in terminal or axillary cymes, racemes, spikes, or panicles, or (in Euphorbia) 1° inflorescence a compact, flower-like cyathium with much-reduced flowers enclosed within an involucre of fused bracts, cyathia terminal or axillary, 1 or in cyme-like arrays. Flower: unisexual, +- radial; sepals 0 or 2--6, free or fused; petals generally 0(5); stamens 1--many, free or filaments fused; ovary superior, chambers (1)3(4), styles free or fused, undivided, forked, or variously lobed. Fruit: generally capsule that splits into mericarps that then dehisce, releasing seeds. Seed: 1 per chamber; knob-like appendage sometimes present at attachment scar.
Genera In Family: 217 genera, 6000+ species: +- worldwide especially tropics; some cultivated (Aleurites, tung oil; Euphorbia species; Hevea, rubber; Ricinus). Toxicity: Many species +- highly TOXIC, due primarily to latex, especially if eaten or in contact with skin, eyes. Note: Eremocarpus moved to Croton, Tetracoccus moved to Picrodendraceae for TJM2; Chamaesyce moved to Euphorbia here (key to genera revised by Thomas J. Rosatti).
eFlora Treatment Author: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: AcalyphaView Description 

Habit: [Annual, perennial herb] shrub; sap clear; generally monoecious. Stem: central erect, generally much-branched; lateral spreading to ascending. Leaf: cauline, alternate; hairs simple, sometimes glandular. Inflorescence: spike, terminal or axillary; staminate bracts minute; pistillate bracts leaf-like, toothed. Staminate Flower: sepals 4; stamens 4--8, filaments free or fused at base; nectary disk 0. Pistillate Flower: sepals 3(5); nectary 0; ovary 3-chambered, styles 3, deeply cut. Fruit: +- spheric, smooth or +- lobed. Seed: smooth to pitted; scar appendage minute.
Etymology: (Greek: ancient name for a kind of nettle)
eFlora Treatment Author: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster
Acalypha californica Benth.
Habit: Plant < 1.5 m, hairy, +- glandular. Leaf: stipules 2--5 mm, linear; petiole < 1.5 cm; blade 1--2 cm, ovate to +- deltate, base truncate to +- lobed, margin crenate. Staminate Inflorescence: 1.5--4 cm, slender. Pistillate Inflorescence: < 2 cm; bracts together cup-like, hairy, margin glandular. Staminate Flower: sepals +- 0.5 mm, puberulent; stamens >> sepals. Pistillate Flower: sepals +- 1 mm, puberulent; ovary +- 1 mm diam, puberulent, styles +- red. Fruit: 1--3 mm diam, puberulent.
Ecology: Rocky slopes, chaparral, oak woodland; Elevation: < 1300 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SCo (near San Diego), PR, w DSon; Distribution Outside California: Baja California. Flowering Time: Jan--Jun
Jepson eFlora Author: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Acalypha californica

botanical illustration including Acalypha californica

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Citation for this treatment: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster 2012, Acalypha californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 24, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 24, 2024.

Acalypha californica
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©2005 Dieter Wilken
Acalypha californica
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©2012 Gary A. Monroe
Acalypha californica
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©2015 Keir Morse
Acalypha californica
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©2015 Keir Morse
Acalypha californica
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©2015 Keir Morse

More photos of Acalypha californica
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Geographic subdivisions for Acalypha californica:
s SCo (near San Diego), PR, w DSon
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).