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Mercurialis annua - L.

Common Name Annual Mercury
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous, but less so than the perennial M. perennis[4, 65, 66, 76].
Habitats Waste places[17]. A common weed of cultivated soils, but it avoids acid soils[1].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to the Mediterranean. Azores.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Full sun
Mercurialis annua Annual Mercury


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mercurialis_annua_L_ag1.jpg
Mercurialis annua Annual Mercury
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mbc

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Mercurialis annua is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to October. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees, flies, wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Plant Habitats

 Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Oil
Edible Uses: Oil

Leaves - cooked[2, 4, 66, 105]. They were at one time quite popular, being used like spinach[4]. The acrid principle is said to be destroyed by thoroughly boiling the leaves[4]. The raw leaves are poisonous[66]. It is probably wise not to eat the leaves of this plant[9].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Emetic  Emollient  Homeopathy  Ophthalmic  Purgative  Warts  Women's complaints

The whole plant, and especially the juice, is emetic, emollient and purgative. It is used externally to treat women's complaints, ear and eye problems, warts and sores[4, 9]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, dropsy, diarrhoea and disorders of the gall bladder and liver[9].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

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Other Uses

Oil

This species is a potential source of a very good drying oil[61].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A common garden weed in Britain, it should need little encouragement. When well suited, it tends to spread itself around too freely for most people's tastes[4]. It dislikes growing in shady positions. Plants are normally dioecious, though monoecious plants are sometimes found[4]. Male and female plants must normally be grown if seed is required.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Mercurialis leiocarpa Perennial0.1 -  LMHSNM002
Mercurialis perennisDog's MercuryPerennial0.3 4-8 FLMHFSM012

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Margaret Baber   Wed Mar 28 2007

This plant is becoming an environmental weed in parts of Melbourne Australia!

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