The WALA Plant Library
Dog´s Mercury

Synonyms for Dog´s Mercury: Dog's Cole, Perennial Mercury
Scientific Name: Mercurialis perennis L.
Family: Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae)


In the spring, Dog's Mercury is one of the first plants to break through the dark earth in damp, shady beech woods and river valley woodlands and turn its still pale green stems towards the light. As the above-ground parts of the plant grow from the creeping, knotty rootstock, Dog's Mercury always grows in patches. It prefers sites that have water running through them. The small unobtrusive flowers of the dioecious plant are yellowish green in color and appear from April to May. As with all dioecious plants, the male and female flowers are on separate plants. The entire plant is already preformed in the earth, even the leaves and flowers. As soon as the bent stem begins to unfold, this "spiritual plan" appears to fill increasingly with life and the plant's material form is realized. To begin with the leaves nestle close to the four sided stem of the young, compact plant. Later, with increasing extension, the serrated, lance-shaped leaves develop and display their shiny blue-green blades.