Habit

A small herb-like open shrub to 2.5 m in rainforest margins. There is a prostrate form in coastal areas.

Leaves are ovate (egg shaped) to lanceolate (drawn out oval) and can be quite large and soft on this small plant. Both surfaces usually densely hairy with prominent veins. The upper surface of the leaf is wrinkled between the veins.

To the untrained eye, can be mistaken for any number of soft weeds. You’ll see this one appear after rain. Another Australian Acalypha (A. capillipes) is spiny.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers

The male flower (inflorescence) is arranged in a spike. The female flower is a bract, more or less a modified leaf joined to the flowering part, in this case like a flattened cup or half shell about a cm in diameter.

‘True friends, False Enemies’ – Related article on plants that look like weeds.

Photo: Robert Whyte