Ontario Weeds: Three-seeded mercury
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds,
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Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Three-seeded mercury, Acalypha
Other Names: ricinelle rhomboide, Copperleaf, rhombic copperleaf, ricinelle de Virginie
Family: Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae)
General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.
Three-seeded mercury. A. Plant. B. Portion of fruiting stem showing 1 three-seeded fruit developing from 1 of 4 flowers in a leaf axil.
Stems & Roots: Stems erect, 7.5-100cm
(3-40in.) high, simple or branched, slightly hairy; leaves green
to bronze-green, 1-9cm (2/5-3½in.) long, lance- to rhombic-ovate
on petioles that are 1/3 the length to almost as long as the leaf
blade; margins with irregular, rounded teeth.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers in greenish clusters in axils of leaves, each cluster composed of one or more palmately cleft bracts with 5 to 9 lobes, one or more stalked male spikes 4-15mm (1/6-2/5in.) long and one or more shorter female flowers; seedpods deeply 3-lobed (similar to those of Leafy spurge) and containing 3 seeds; seeds tan coloured, 1.6-1.8mm (1/15in.) long. Flowers from July to September.
Habitat: Three-seeded mercury occurs in dry or moist soil in open woods, fields, waste places, ditches and roadsides throughout south-central Ontario.
Similar Species: It resembles young plants of Redroot pigweed but is distinguished by its flowers borne in axillary clusters with bracts having 5-9 lobes and its leaves occasionally a bronze-green colour.
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