Sp. Pl. 1: 204. 1753.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 96. 1754.

Common names: Chaff-flower
Etymology: Greek achyron, chaff, and anthos, flower
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 435. Mentioned on page 406.
FNA4 P68 Achyranthes aspera var aspera.jpegAchyranthes aspera var. aspera
Guilleminea densa var. aggregata
Gossypianthus lanuginosus var. lanuginosus
Yevonn Wilson-Ramsey
Yevonn Wilson-Ramsey
Yevonn Wilson-Ramsey

Herbs, perennial or annual. Stems erect to ascending. Leaves opposite, petiolate; blade elliptic, ovate to orbiculate, or broadly rhombate, margins entire. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, pedunculate, elongate, many-flowered, simple spikes or few-branched panicles; flowers crowded together at tips, becoming more widely spaced toward base. Flowers bisexual, often becoming deflexed with age; tepals 4 or 5, basally connate, without ornamentation, coriaceous, becoming indurate in fruit, ± glabrous; filaments basally connate into short tubes or cups; anthers 4-locular; pseudostaminodes 5; ovary obovoid or turbinate; ovule 1; style elongate; stigma 1, capitate. Utricles enclosed by and falling with indurate tepals, elliptic or cylindric, membranous, indehiscent. Seeds 1, inverted, obovoid or ovoid, smooth.


c and se United States, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, tropical, subtropical, and warm-temperate regions of the Old World


Species 8–12 (2 in the flora).

The groups of plants referred to as Achyranthes and Alternanthera have been subject to considerable nomenclatural confusion, primarily because P. C. Standley (1915) designated Achyranthes repens Linnaeus as the lectotype species of Achyranthes. As a result, species that had been placed in Achyranthes were transferred to Centrostachys Wallich, and species that had been in Alternanthera were transferred to Achyranthes. A. A. Bullock (1957; see also R. Melville 1958) showed that Standley’s lectotypification was incorrect and that the type species of Achyranthes is Achyranthes aspera Linnaeus. The generic concepts of Achyranthes and Alternanthera then returned to those prior to 1915.

Selected References



1 Pseudostaminode margins fimbriate at apex Achyranthes aspera
1 Pseudostaminode margins entire, denticulate, or slightly 2-lobed at apex Achyranthes japonica
... more about "Achyranthes"
Kenneth R. Robertson +
Linnaeus +
ovate +  and orbiculate or broadly rhombate +
Chaff-flower +
c and se United States +, Mexico +, West Indies +, Central America +, South America +, tropical +, subtropical +  and and warm-temperate regions of the Old World +
peripheral +
Greek achyron, chaff, and anthos, flower +
spaced +  and crowded +
hypogynous +
minute +  and small +
indurate +  and coriaceous +
not +  and dehiscent +
many-flowered +  and pedunculate +
turbinate +  and obovoid +
few-branched +  and simple +
Sp. Pl. +  and Gen. Pl. ed. +
1753 +  and 1754 +
brown +, reddish-brown +  and black +
ovoid +  and obovoid +
erect +  and ascending +
elongate +
Achyranthes +
Amaranthaceae +
cylindric +  and elliptic +
membranous +
annual +  and perennial +