Acalypha Species, Texas Chenille Plant, Cardinal's Feather, Cardinal’s Guard, Yerba de la Rabia

Acalypha radians

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acalypha (ak-uh-LY-fuh) (Info)
Species: radians (RAD-ee-anz) (Info)
Synonym:Ricinocarpus radians




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall


Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Arlington, Texas

Hempstead, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 16, 2016, Craig_R_Jackson from Cypress, TX wrote:

Acalypha radians is a versatile plant. I found a well-established wild stand northwest of Houston easily surviving the months long drought 100 F conditions. They are growing in gritty dusty poor well-drained soil in full sun, easily surviving Houston's typical pounding week long rains. All around an amazing plant. In partial shade it can straggle up to about 12 in. in height. Some of them have a redder leaf, others are greener. Should be used more incultivation.


On Aug 23, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Acalypha radians is Endemic to Texas and a very charming plant.


On Jul 11, 2006, GD_Rankin from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I agree with htop, this plant thrives in the fields around my place in areas that very little else will grow in during drought conditions. I personally think they're attractive and do my best to avoid them when mowing and shredding the fields. They are in full bloom this time of year and really put on a nice show when the sun is setting.


On Sep 2, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Cardinal feather, sometimes called Texas Chenille plant, is a perennial native to the Texas Edwards Plateau south through the Texas Rio Grande Valley regions and northern Mexico. It is about 5 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Interestingly from April through November, there are male and female flowers which emerge on separate plants: although both plants have leaves that exhibit lobed margins and are sparsely covered with hairs, the female blossoms are thick spikes with red thread-like styles and the male blooms are long red spikes which typically are somewat thinner than the female's. Deer eat the leaves and the seeds are consumed by turkey and quail in the plant's native habitat.

The Texas chenille provides an answer to the question: "What does one plant in dry, rocky and/... read more