Any plant of the large genus Acalypha (family Euphorbiaceae), comprising herbs and shrubs found in tropical and subtropical climates, including the chenille plant, A. hispida. Also (in form Acalypha): the genus itself.
Valid publication of the genus name: Linnaeus Species plantarum (1753) II. 1003.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in William Hanbury (1725–1778), Church of England clergyman and horticulturist. From scientific Latin Acalypha, genus name from ancient Greek ἀκαλήϕη stinging nettle.