Three-Seeded Mercury, Acalypha virginica var. rhomboidea
(formerly, and according to many books still, a separate species --Acalypha rhomboidea)
Euphorbiaceae or Spurge Family


Erect plant to about 2 feet tall. Leaves shiny, egg-shaped to ovoid, with a long tips and large teeth, alternating on the stem. Flowers very small, in axils of the leaves. Technically the flowers are inflorescences consisting of one three-part green female flower and several whitish male flowers on the ends of stalks, the whole surrounded by a leaf-like bract, which has 5 to 7 relatively large pointed lobes.

Native, but weedy. Common weed of lawns, gardens and waste places. In Wildwood common along the bikeway and Wildwood Drive, especially in mowed areas.

Virginia copperleaf, the typical variety of the species (A. virginica) is very similar, but has bracts under the flowers with more 9 to 11 lobes, and a coppery color to young leaves. It has been reported from the Park, but not seen in recent years. Either variety could be mistaken for clearweed (Pilea pumila) which has similar shiny leaves, but that plant has very different flowers.

Leaf   Plant, from top