Mercurialis annua - L.
Common Name Annual Mercury
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous, but less so than the perennial M. perennis[4, 65, 66, 76].
Habitats Waste places[17]. A common weed of cultivated soils, but it avoids acid soils[1].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to the Mediterranean. Azores.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Moist Soil Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Mercurialis annua Annual Mercury
Mercurialis annua Annual Mercury
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Mercurialis annua is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Leaves - cooked[2, 4, 66, 105]. They were at one time quite popular, being used like spinach[4]. The acrid principle is said to be destroyed by thoroughly boiling the leaves[4]. The raw leaves are poisonous[66]. It is probably wise not to eat the leaves of this plant[9].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Emetic;  Emollient;  Homeopathy;  Ophthalmic;  Purgative;  Warts;  Women's complaints.

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[4, 9]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, dropsy, diarrhoea and disorders of the gall bladder and liver[9].


Other Uses

This species is a potential source of a very good drying oil[61].
Cultivation details
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[4]. It dislikes growing in shady positions. Plants are normally dioecious, though monoecious plants are sometimes found[4]. Male and female plants must normally be grown if seed is required.
Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Margaret Baber   Wed Mar 28 2007
This plant is becoming an environmental weed in parts of Melbourne Australia!
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Mercurialis annua  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.