Three-seeded Mercury Illustration

Three-seeded Mercury

Acalypha virginica

Three-seeded Mercury is a summer annual broadleaf weed that is also known as Virginia Copperleaf, Wax Balls, Copperleaf, Virginia Mercury and Mercury-weed. Its scientific name is Acalypha virginica.








Three-seeded Mercury can be identified by its vertically growing, branched stems that are hairy to sparsely hairy. The leaves are glossy and sparsely haired, developing a distinct copper pigmentation. In many areas, the leaves of this broadleaf weed soon become damaged by insect feeding. Three-seeded Mercury has a shallow taproot with a secondary fibrous root system. Blooming from July through October, Three-seeded Mercury features a spike of small, staminate flowers that lack petals. Reproduction occurs by seeds, and cross-pollination is by wind.

Life Cycle

This broadleaf weed does not appear to prefer any particular habitat and can be found in most disturbed areas, woodlands, thickets, prairies, meadows, abandoned fields, thin lawns, flower gardens and in areas along railroads and roadsides. Three-seeded Mercury can be found throughout much of the eastern and midwestern United States.

Life Cycle Image


Three-seeded Acalypha virginicacan be a somewhat aggressive summer annual weed. Cultural weed control methods—including proper lawn-mowing and watering habits—will not completely remove Three-seeded Mercury and should be used only as a supplement to professionally applied broadleaf weed killers.


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