An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

NEW MEXICO COPPERLEAF

Illustration

SPURGE FAMILY-Euphorbiaceae

NEW MEXICO COPPERLEAF-Acalypha neomexicana Muell. Arg.

DESCRIPTION-A weak annual 3 inches to 2 feet high, reproducing only by seed. The bright green soft, lanceshaped leaves are alternate, shallowly toothed on the margins, and 1 to 5 1/2 inches long, including the slender stalks which are 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long. The entire plant often turns a copper color in the fall.

The two types of flowers lack petals, and are arranged in terminal or axillary spikes. The small male flowers with 6 to 8 stamens, and the female flowers with the 3 styles, divided into numerous long threadlike parts, are found on the same plant, or each may occur on separate plants. Beneath the female flowers are leaflike bracts conspicuously veined, with the middle tooth elongated. The 3 lobed seedpods are about 1/12 inch long, and somewhat broader. The 3 plump granular, reddish or dark brown seeds are sometimes brown spotted, eggshaped, and about 1/16 inch long.

DISTRIBUTION-New Mexico copperleaf is a native weed growing around drainage ditches, buildings, flower beds, edges of lawns, waste places, roadsides, and overgrazed areas on ranges, also found on shaded slopes and canyons in the mountains, Greenlee to Yavapai county and southward; 2,400 to 7,500 feet elevation; flowering August to October or November.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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