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Unusual meadow foxtail and other species of akalifa. Description and photo

Unusual meadow foxtail and other species of akalifa. Description and photo


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Lovers of indoor floriculture will surely like the unusual houseplant - akalifa. Scientists have described more than four hundred of its species. From ancient Greek, this name is translated "nettle", since the leaves really bear a resemblance to our stinging grass.

Akalifa blooms unusually - with lush red tails hanging down. Therefore, the plant is sometimes called the tailed akalifa. As a houseplant, it was first cultivated at the end of the nineteenth century. It does not look like the usual home flowers, moreover, it destroys the dangerous microflora in the room, normalizes electrostatics and has a calming effect on a person.

The second name of akalifa

People often call akalifa foxtail. She received such a nickname due to the external similarity of inflorescences with a fox's tail.

Akalifa (or foxtail) belongs to the Euphorbia family. Their representatives are low trees and shrubs, they are annuals and perennials. Their leaves are egg-shaped with serrated edges, and small flowers gather in an inflorescence that looks like an ear. Some of its varieties are grown as decorative.

A completely different plant with the same name (fox tail, foxtail, foxtail) belongs to the bluegrass (or cereal) family. These are meadow grasses (perennial and annual) that are common in the cold and temperate climates of the southern and northern hemispheres.

Varieties: photo, description and features

Wild plants

Lugovoi

The plant of this species belongs to the genus of foxtails (bluegrass family). Its height is from fifty to one hundred and twenty centimeters. It has a short rhizome, leaves are flat (about four to ten millimeters). The inflorescence looks like a cylinder (length - from 3 to 10 mm, width - from 4 to 10 mm). In June, the meadow foxtail begins to bloom, the seeds ripen in the month of July.

The plant loves loose, fertile and moist soil.

Foxtail is used with success and for medicinal purposes:

  • to get rid of pains and cramps, bandages from this plant are applied;
  • foxtail infusion is useful for strengthening the walls of blood vessels;
  • herbal baths will help get rid of rheumatic pains, as well as skin diseases:
  • a decoction of the plant is used for diseases of the bladder and kidneys.

Alpine

A perennial plant in the Arctic also belongs to the bluegrass family. It is undersized (height - about twenty centimeters), with hairy grayish inflorescences that resemble an ear. Their shape can be oval or cylindrical.

Alpine foxtail blooms in the middle of summer. The flowers are gray-blue, the shoots have a reddish tint. This plant is light-loving.

Cranked

This plant can be found in damp and swampy meadows, on the banks of water bodies. Its height is from 10 to 40 cm. The leaves are grayish-green or green in color, their length is from two to twelve centimeters. The stem is geniculate (hence the name of the species), the spikelets are 2.5-3 mm, the anthers are purple, about 2 mm long. The geniculate foxtail blooms in June, and bears fruit in July, it reproduces by seeds, the root system is weak.

Indoor flowers

Wilkes

This branchy shrub in its homeland (Fiji island) reaches a height of three meters. Because of the red-golden patterned leaves that change color under different lighting conditions, it is called the rainbow plant. As a houseplant, Akalifa is bred precisely because of the peculiar color of the leaves. Her flowers are small, rare, collected in buds. Unlike brightly colored leaves, they are inconspicuous.

Rough

This evergreen shrub comes from:

  • Asia;
  • Australia;
  • Polynesia.

Its leaves with reddish veins have a matte green tint.

The length of a rough akalifa can reach 60 centimeters.

It blooms all year round. Fluffy crimson inflorescences resemble catkins, the length of which is about 40 cm. It is with its unusually beautiful leaves and inflorescences that this type of akalifa attracts the attention of lovers of indoor floriculture.

Bristly

The homeland of this type of akalifa is Polynesia. This perennial plant occurs in the form of a shrub. It has matte, pointed, like nettle leaves with reddish veins.

Bristly

It does not tolerate low temperatures, so in cold areas it is grown as a houseplant. It blooms with bright inflorescences (red, crimson, scarlet and snow-white), reminiscent of catkins, for nine months. At home, this shrub grows up to one and a half meters. The plant is unpretentious, and even an inexperienced grower can grow these "tails".

South

This type of akalifa is annual. Its stems are covered with light stiff hairs and have a ribbed shape, they stretch in height and branch. Oval small leaves are colored green, and the inflorescences are light pink. The southern akalifa blooms from July to August.

Mosaic

This ornamental plant is very beautiful. It has different colors of leaves, can be of different sizes. This Akalifa blooms unusually. Its inflorescences are very similar to whips (or threads). The mosaic has wide oval leaves with a greenish bronze tint with orange and reddish spots. This plant is highly prized among flower growers.

Home care rules

Akalifa cannot be called too picky plant, but when growing it, certain conditions must be observed:

  1. It is comfortable for akalife at a temperature of 17-25 degrees, but drafts are unacceptable for her.
  2. It is a light-loving plant, but it does not like direct sunlight, so it will be best on the west or east side, and in winter it may need artificial lighting in the evening.
  3. Watering should be moderate but regular. It is necessary to constantly monitor the condition of the soil (especially in the summer) so that it does not dry out. The soil itself should be light. The most suitable would be a composition consisting of equal proportions:
    • peat;
    • humus;
    • sand;
    • turf.

    Drainage is also required.

  4. From spring to mid-autumn, the plant must be fed every two to three weeks with complex mineral fertilizers (Agricola and Fertika are suitable).
  5. Akalifa loves humid air, so it must be regularly sprayed (the water must be settled and warm).
  6. The plant is transplanted in spring or summer, and it propagates by seeds or cuttings. The pot for akalifa should not be too large, it will be more comfortable in a small container.

With improper care, the plant can "get sick":

  • if the air in the room is dry, then the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off;
  • if the room is too cold, the leaves will wither;
  • in poor lighting, the leaves become pale and stretch;
  • if there is not enough nitrogen, then the plant slows down its growth;
  • the appearance of spots indicates a fungal infection (it is necessary to treat with fungicides).

Plants damaged by parasites can be treated with ordinary animal shampoo.

To rejuvenate the Akalifa, in the spring it is necessary to cut it off (leave 20 cm of the stem) and put it under a cap or cover it with polyethylene (until young shoots appear).

Lovers of indoor floriculture speak very well of this outlandish plant: it pleases the eye, gives a good mood to everyone who looks at it. They also call it affectionately "Warm Flower". Its owners are sure that it warms up if a person has chills or is allergic to cold.

Some growers do not purchase it due to the toxicity of the plant (its juice can burn or cause an allergic reaction). All this can be avoided if you follow the basic requirements:

  • use gloves when in contact with akalifa;
  • use special tools for work;
  • place in places inaccessible to small children and animals.

If these conditions are observed, then the plant will not cause any harm to anyone. Each person decides for himself whether to "settle" an Akalifa in his apartment or not, but one thing is certain: this is really an unusual find for a florist.

Read more about caring for akalifa here.

Next, you can watch a video for caring for akalifa:


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