Botanical Name: Acalypha godseffiana
Synonyms: Acalypha wilkesiana var. Godseffiana, Acalypha godseffiana var. heterophylla, Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Fierstorm’.
Common Names: Copper Leaf, Firestorm, Dwarf Acalypha, Match-me-if-you-can, Three-seeded Mercury, Jacobs Coat, Fire Dragon, Beefsteak Plant
Sinhala name: Sankaraja makuta
Habitat: Acalypha godseffiana is native to East Indies and the Pacific, this is one of the most striking foliage shrubs and is widely used by tropical gardeners.(Western Pacific – Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu) It grows along the edges of forests and along the sides of roads; at elevations from 400 – 450 metres
Acalypha godseffiana is an erect or spreading, evergreen, often suckering shrub that can grow 2 – 4 metres tall, occasionally to 6 metres. It is a very colorful tropical shrub grown for its attractive reddish leaves. Beautiful foliage of mixed shades of red, yellow and green. Leaves, much smaller than ordinary copperleafs, are orange/red in the full sun and mostly variegated/green in the shade. The more sun the more color the leaves will get. Fast growing. Cultivars of A. godseffiana are found in a wide variety of colors: green and white, green and yellow, red, bronze, copper, or brown. The leaves also vary in form, some being flat and others undulating, while the flowers are inconspicuous. In a garden, where they are often used as informal hedges or in massed beds, all Acalypha species require full sun, well-drained soil, and careful pruning to prevent them from becoming leggy.
Acalypha godseffiana can take full sun or partial shade but requires the former to develop vibrant colours on foliage. Specimens grown under shade will not be as colourful. A fast-growing shrub, it likes well-drained soil with regularly sprinkled with organic matter.
Propagation:Through seeds. Acalypha godseffiana is easily propagated by cuttings also.
Edible Uses: Young shoots, without the flowers, are eaten as a cooked vegetable,
Acalypha godseffiana traditionally used in the treatment and/or management of diverse ailments such as diabetes, jaundice, hypertension, fever, liver inflammation, schistosomiasis, dysentery, respiratory problems including bronchitis, asthma and pheumonia as well as skin conditions.
The plant is abortifacient, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antinematodal. The leaves are squeezed into water and the resulting juice is drunk as a treatment for diarrhoea and dysentery. The juice of fresh leaves is drunk as a treatment for laryngitis. They are chewed on as a first-aid treatment for a ruptured appendix. The fresh shoots are squeezed into water and the solution drunk to regulate menstruation and as an abortifacient. (Presumably this last treatment is a much stronger juice than that used for diarrhoea.)
Applied externally, the leaves and young shoots are used to treat skin rashes. The leaves are boiled in water and used as a massage for patients with fevers. The fresh, leafy branches are applied externally in order to induce perspiration, apparently for their rubefacient effect.
The fresh young leaves, combined with the leaves of Ocimum basilicum, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and Euodia hortensis, are placed in a bowl of hot water and the vapour released is breathed in to bring relief from pneumonia, malaria, pain and fever
Known Hazards The bark has been used as a poison