2. Mercurialis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1035. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 457. 1754.
Mercury [Latin Mercurius, Roman mythological deity, and -alis, belonging to, alluding to belief that it was discovered by him] Mercury [Latin Mercurius, Roman mythological deity, and -alis, belonging to, alluding to belief that it was discovered by him]
Lynn J. Gillespie
Herbs, annual [perennial], dioecious or monoecious; hairs unbranched; latex absent. Leaves opposite, simple; stipules present, persistent; petiole present [absent], glands present at apex; blade unlobed, margins serrate or crenate, laminar glands absent; venation pinnate. Inflorescences usually unisexual, rarely bisexual, axillary, staminate elongate spikelike thyrses, pistillate and bisexual fascicles or cymules [short spikelike thyrses]; glands subtending each bract 0. Pedicels: staminate rudimentary or absent, pistillate present. Staminate flowers: sepals 3, valvate, distinct; petals 0; nectary absent; stamens 8–12(–20), distinct; pistillode absent. Pistillate flowers: sepals 3, distinct; petals 0; nectary 2 glands; pistil 2-carpellate; styles 2, distinct or connate basally, unbranched. Fruits capsules, hispid [glabrous]. Seeds ovoid; caruncle present. x = 8.
Species 10 (1 in the flora): introduced, California; Eurasia, n Africa, Atlantic Islands (Macaronesia); introduced also in s South America, s Africa, Pacific Islands (New Zealand).