Virginia threeseed mercury
Scientific NameAcalypha virginica
Other Common Names:
This summer annual produces flowers from June through October.
The leaves are opposite when it's young but it becomes alternate later along the hairy stems. The leaves have toothed margins and turn a copper color with age. The lanceolate leaves can grow from 3/4 to 3 inches long.
This plant can be identified by copper-colored young leaves and by axillary flower clusters.
Flower Seed Head
Male and female flowers are produced separately on the same plant (monoecious). Both flower types are greenish, inconspicuous, and produced in clusters in the leaf axils on the upper portions of the stem. Female flowers are surrounded by conspicuous, bracts that have 9 to 15 deep lobes.
The egg-shaped seeds grow from 1.4 to 1.8 mm long in a 3-lobed seed pod. The seeds are dull reddish-brown or gray with reddish-brown spots.
Plants are found from Maine to Florida, west to South Dakota and Texas. They occur throughout much of the eastern two-thirds of the United States. Plants are common in poorly managed turfgrass and pastures. Large populations will occur following tillage.
upright and nonwoody
Thorns or Spines
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval