The chenlille plant (Acalypha hispida), a member of the spurge family, is named for the French word for caterpillar. Its crimson accents can provide textural interest to a sunny flower garden or a homegrown bouquet. The genus acalypha is one of the members of the Euphorbiaceae family, which is a treasure trove of ornamental plants for the flower gardener; think poinsettia, croton, and castor bean, among others.The foliage of the chenille plant is unremarkable; the real stars are its fuzzy red flowers. The anatomy of the flower itself is just a row of pistils, but the fuzzy catkins formed from the flowers provide visual and tactile enjoyment for all ages. The catkins can look like plump fuzz balls, eventually turning downright pendulous, with lengths of 18 inches not unheard of. Outside of tropical zones, chenille plants are commonly grown in containers that can be brought indoors for winter. They can also be grown year-round as houseplants. They are perennial in zones 9 and 10, where they are best planted in spring.