Acalypha virginica
Acalypha virginica Arkansas.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Acalypha
A. virginica
Binomial name
Acalypha virginica

Acalypha virginica, commonly called Virginia threeseed mercury[1] or Virginia copperleaf,[2] is a plant in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). It is native to the eastern United States.[3][4] It is found in a variety of natural habitats, particularly in open woodlands and along riverbanks.[4][5] It is a somewhat weedy species that responds positively to ecological disturbance, and can be found in degraded habitats such as agricultural fields.[5]

Acalypha virginica is an erect herbaceous annual growing to 50 cm tall. It is monoecious, and produces small greenish axillary flowers with no petals. It blooms in summer through fall.[4] It bears a similarity to Acalypha gracilens which occupies much of its geographic range. Acalypha virginica can be distinguished by its pistillate bracts which are hirsute and lack glands (vs. Acalypha gracilens, which has pistillate bracts that are sparsely pubescent and red-glandular).[4]

For conservation, Acalypha virginica is considered to be globally secure.[6] It is a common species throughout much of its range, and is found in a wide variety of habitats.[5][7] However, it becomes uncommon at the edges of its range, and is listed as a special concern species in Connecticut.[8] In Maine, the only documented occurrence of this species was collected from Parsonsfield in 1902, and it is currently thought to be extirpated from the state.[9]


  1. ^ "Acalypha virginica". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  2. ^ Weakley, Alan (2015). "Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States".
  3. ^ "Acalypha virginica". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Acalypha virginica Flora of North America
  5. ^ a b c Hilty, John (2016). "Acalypha virginica". Illinois Wildflowers.
  6. ^ "Acalypha virginica". NatureServe Explorer. NatureServe. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  7. ^ Yatskievych, George (2006). Flora of Missouri, Volume 2. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. p. 1017.
  8. ^ Connecticut's Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species 2015 State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  9. ^ Acalypha virginica Rare Plant Factsheet Maine Natural Areas Program