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Slender Threeseed Mercury (Acalypha gracilens A. Gray)

Also known as slender copperleaf, slender mercury.

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Slender Threeseed Mercury
Photo © Bonnie Semmling, CC BY 4.0.


An annual native mostly to the southeastern US.

Range - Expand

Native or Not Present
Native or Expanded
Expanded or Not Present

This map is based on our research. We have checked its accuracy to Level 3 ecoregions. Although this plant occurs somewhere in each of these regions, it may only occur in a small part of some or all of them.

This species has established north of its native range, moving into Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. We marked it expanded even though there are gaps of several counties separating these new populations from native ones, because it has largely been spreading on its own and not being intentionally cultivated, and because these populations are relatively near its native range.

Similar Plants

thumbnail of Rhomboid Mercury
Rhomboid Mercury (Acalypha rhomboidea)
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thumbnail of Virginia Threeseed Mercury
Virginia Threeseed Mercury (Acalypha virginica)
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Found in

Relative to Acalypha rhomboidea and Acalypha gracilens, this species has a greater tolerance of sandy soils, and a stronger preference for habitats that experience regular fire.

Life Cycle

This species is an annual. In most of its range, it dies down for the winter, but in southern Florida it can complete its life cycle opportunistically at any time of year.

More so than other Acalypha sp. this species establishes a deep, robust taproot, and has a lower total leaf surface area, enabling it to withstand hot, dry conditions in sandy soils.


This plant has been recorded establishing in the wild in Mozambique; it may have invasive potential, but it has not widely established as an invasive plant yet. We recommend taking care not to introduce this plant to areas far outside its native range.

Acalypha gracilens (Slender Threeseed Mercury) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Acalypha gracilens | Go Botany (About This Site)

Acalypha gracilens | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Acalypha gracilens | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Acalypha gracilens | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Acalypha gracilens | Missouri Plants (About This Site)

Slender Three-seeded Mercury | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Acalypha gracilens A.Gray | Plants of the World Online (POWO) (About This Site)

Acalypha gracilens Gray (Slender Three-seeded Mercury, Short-stalk Copperleaf) | Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (About This Site)

Photo gallery

Photo © Christopher Warneke, Public Domain.
Photo © Evan M. Raskin, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Bonnie Semmling, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Abby Darrah, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Evan M. Raskin, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Jay Horn, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Amber M. King, CC BY 4.0.