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Rhomboid Mercury vs Virginia Threeseed Mercury

These two plants are easily told apart by their flower bracts. Some individuals are easily distinguished by leaf shape and petiole length, although high variability of these traits makes them less reliable. New growth has shorter petioles, and growing conditions can alter leaf shape considerably.

Rhomboid Mercury (Acalypha rhomboidea)

Virginia Threeseed Mercury (Acalypha virginica)

Also called Common Threeseed Mercury. An annual plant native to North America; common and widely distributed. An inconspicuous, weedy plant that nearly everyone in its range has seen, but few people notice or know how to identify.
An inconspicuous weedy annual native to North America. The name of this plant is midsleading; although this species does occur in Virginia, it is more common and abundant both farther north and west. In virginia, at least two other Acalypha species are more common.
Rhomboid leaves, with a more abrupt angle close to the leaf's widest point. Some leaves taper more strongly at the tip.
Ovoid leaves, consistently curved and without a sharp angle at the leaf's widest point. Often more blunt-tipped.
Bracts containing pistils and seeds usually have 5-9 lobes or segments. Usually not folded, and have an open cup shape.
Bracts containing pistils and seeds usually have 10-15 lobes or segments, usually folded, and pubescent, leading to a "Shaggier" appearance.
Mature leaves lower down on the plant have longer petioles, usually more than half as long as the leaf blade.
Mature leaves lower down on the plant have shorter petioles, usually 1/3rd to 1/2 as long as the leaf blade.
Stems may be pubescent or not, but never as densely pubescent.
Stems consistently, and more densely pubescent.