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Common Name: Annual Mercury
Mercurialis annua is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
The plant is poisonous, but less so than the perennial M. perennis[
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to the Mediterranean. Azores.
]. A common weed of cultivated soils, but it avoids acid soils[
|Pollinators||Bees, Flies, wind
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[
]. It dislikes growing in shady positions.
Plants are normally dioecious, though monoecious plants are sometimes found[
]. Male and female plants must normally be grown if seed is required.
Leaves - cooked[
]. They were at one time quite popular, being used like spinach[
]. The acrid principle is said to be destroyed by thoroughly boiling the leaves[
]. The raw leaves are poisonous[
]. It is probably wise not to eat the leaves of this plant[
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[
A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[
]. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, dropsy, diarrhoea and disorders of the gall bladder and liver[
This species is a potential source of a very good drying oil[
Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ.