Identify Dogs Mercury

DOG’S MERCURY / SPRING / SUMMER / DEADLY

COMMON NAMES

Dog’s Mercury, Dog’s Cole

BOTANICAL NAME

Mercurialis Perennis

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Root –  Unknown.

Stems – Single rounded stems with leaves growing in pairs at intervals up the stem.

Leaves – Green, single leaves, lanceolate in shape which are serrated.

Flowers – Male flowers grow up a short stem, the flowers are small, pale green with creamy coloured anthers.

The female flowers have shorter flower stems and at the top of the stem are a pair of sphere shaped lobes with tiny petals emerging from the top.

Seeds – Unknown.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom – Plantae

Order – Malpighiales

Family – Euphorbiaceae

Genus – Mercurialis

KNOWN HAZARDS

The whole plant is toxic. Mercurialine is one of the main compounds in this plant. It is known to induce haemorrhaging and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. It will induce drowsiness and mild muscular spasms. Symptoms of poisoning appear within a few hours; they include vomiting, pain, gastric and kidney inflammation and sometimes inflammation of the cheeks and jaw. Larger doses cause lethargy, jaundice, painful urination and coma.

COULD BE CONFUSED WITH
Dog’s Mercury is quite distinctive and doesn’t have many look a likes, but the leaves could be confused with those a the elder tree. The main issues with this plant is that it grows within other woodland plants such as wild garlic and could accidentally be harvested with edible leaves.

RANGE AND DISTRIBUTION
This is a common plant in Europe including Britain and South West Asia.

HABITAT

In dappled shade in woodlands, hedgerows and gardens.

EDIBLE USES

None. This plant is poisonous do not eat!

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