Alternanthera Forssk.

A name referring to the alternately sterile and fertile anthers.

Annual or perennial herbs and shrubs. Leaves opposite, ovate to obovate, entire, variously coloured. Flowers bisexual in small dense axillary clusters. Perianth segments 5 in 2 unequal groups. Stamens 3-5 united into a tube mostly with sterile stamens. Ovary 1-celled. Fruit balloon-like, 1-seeded.

Grown as bedding plants, mostly in warmer districts, for their coloured foliage effect and often trimmed back to remove flowers.

A. dentata (Moench) Scheygr. from W Indies and Brazil is sometimes grown as a range of cultivars; it has narrower leaves than A. ficoidea and the bracteoles outside the flowers have finely lacerated tips.

Cuttings or division.

Unequal perianth.

About 100 species of the tropics and subtropics, mostly in the Americas.

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Amaranthaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Caryophyllanae
order      Caryophyllales
family       Amaranthaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Alternanthera ficoidea (L.) R.Br.