Three-seeded Mercury
(Slender Three Seed Mercury - Short Stalk Copperleaf)
Acalypha gracilens (Gray)
Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) Family

Plant is an upright annual to 20 inches tall, simple or little branched from near the base. The stems bear small incurved hairs. Its preferred habitat is broadleaf and pine woods, fields, waste places, meadows, and edge of brackish marshes. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaf margins are entire (no teeth and no lobes) or nearly so.

The flowers are male and female on the same axillary short spike, small and insignificant. There will be a leafy bract at the base. The bracts will have 9 to 15 ovate to deltoid lobes that are about 1/2 inch long. Flowers occur in late summer.

Fruit is a 3-seeded capsule. The seeds are reddish to black.

Two other species are similar. A. rhomboidea has bracts with 5 to 7 lobes. The longest is 3 mm or longer. This species is occasional in the Escambia region and in similar places. A. virginica is also occasional. It will have straight spreading hairs along the stem, especially on the upper part. A virginica is rare in our area.

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