Photo of Rhomboid Mercury (Acalypha rhomboidea)

closeup of plant stem showing bracts and flowers, fine hairs visible on the stem

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This photo is particularly good at showing the texture and nature of the stem pubescence on this species. This pubescence, although not always the most prominent or visible feature, is one of several characteristics that can help distinguish this species from others of its genus.

Relative to asian copperleaf (Acalypha australis), the hairs on this species tend to project outward more, not as consistently staying pressed against the stem. It is also much less pubescent overall than Virginia threeseed mercury (Acalypha virginica) and the hairs do not project out as much as on that species.

Photographer & Copyright

© aarongunnar

Photo Source

CC BY 4.0

Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 2 plant ID/comparison guides:

collage of Rhomboid Mercury and Asian Copperleaf

Rhomboid Mercury (Acalypha rhomboidea) vs. Asian Copperleaf (Acalypha australis)

Updated February 2nd, 2023

These two species are superficially similar, can occur together in the same habitat, and can easily be confused, especially when people do not know to check againt the introduced A. australis. They are easily distinguished by their bracts and flowers, and also have subtle differences in leaves. A. australis currently has a restricted range, mostly in and around New York City, but temporary populations have cropped up in disparate locations including Oregon, Iowa, and Delaware, and due to the inconspicuous nature of this genus, it is probably undereported.

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collage of Rhomboid Mercury and Virginia Threeseed Mercury

Rhomboid Mercury (Acalypha rhomboidea) vs. Virginia Threeseed Mercury (Acalypha virginica)

Updated July 11th, 2022

These two species overlap greatly in range and can occur together in the same habitat. They are easily distinguished by 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. Although both are habitat generalists relying on disturbance at a key point in the growing season, A. rhomboidea tolerates a wider range of light and moisture conditions and soil textures, as well as low soil fertility. A. virginica prefers slightly drier conditions, and is more restricted to partly-sunny habitats with rich, loamy soil, and is slightly less likely in anthropogenic habitats.

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