Mercurialis

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Mercurialis

 

(mercury), a genus of perennial and annual herbs of the family Euphorbiaceae. The leaves are opposite, and the flowers are unisexual, small, and greenish. The plants are usually dioecious. The staminate flowers are in clusters, and the pistillate flowers are generally solitary. The perianth is simple and three-parted. The fruit is a schizocarp with two one-seeded cells. There are eight species, distributed in Eurasia (mainly in the Mediterranean region). In the USSR three species are encountered in the European part and in the Caucasus. Dog’s mercury (M. perennis) grows in shady, mainly broad-leaved forests and thickets; it blossoms in early spring. The leaves contain a dark blue dye. All species of mercury are poisonous.

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