Mercurialis annua L.

annual mercury

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Annual mercury is native to Europe and introduced nearly worldwide. Its North American distribution is scattered, and in New England it has been collected only in Massachusetts and Maine. It may have been introduced in ships' ballast, as early collections were from ballast dump sites.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Fruit type (general)
  • the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
  • the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    NA
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal number
    0
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Scales inside corolla
    NA
    Sepal and petal color
    NA
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal number
    anything
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    anything
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit locules
    three
    Fruit type (general)
    • the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    • the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    anything
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Leaf arrangement
    opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    • the leaf blade margin has forward-pointing teeth
    • the leaf blade margin has rounded teeth
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Genus

Mercurialis

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Mercurialis annua L. E

annual mercury. MA, ME. Yards, roadsides, ballast, waste areas.