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082  Mercurialis annua L.

Euphorbiaceae

Nome comune: Mercorella

Mercurialis annua is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family known by the common name annual mercury. It is native to Europe but it is known on many other continents as an introduced species. It grows in many types of habitat, including disturbed areas. This is an annual herb growing 10 to 30 centimeters tall with oppositely arranged oval leaves each a few centimeters long. The plant is dioecious with male and female plants producing different types of inflorescence. The male flowers are borne in spikelike clusters sprouting from leaf axils, and female flowers grow in clusters of 2 or 3. Neither type of flower has petals. The fruit is a bristly capsule 2 or 3 millimeters wide containing shiny, pitted seeds.