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Acalypha rhomboidea

Acalypha rhomboidea Raf.

Acalypha virginica L. var. rhomboidea (Raf.) Cooperr.

Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalpighialesA broad group encompassing 16,000 species
FamilyEuphorbiaceaeEuphorbia or spurge family
GenusAcalyphaCopperleaves or three-seeded mercuries; means “nettle”
Speciesrhomboidea“Diamond-shaped” leaves

About plant names...

Three-seeded mercury is a member of the highly variable Euphorbia family. The genus, Acalypha, is from the Greek akalyphē, meaning “nettle,” because these plants resemble nettles. The species rhomboidea refers to the rhomboid shape of the leaves. Three-seeded mercury refers to the fruits—capsules with three seeds. I have no clue where “mercury” comes from though.

Identification: Plants are 6-24" (15-60 cm) tall, with a stem that is hairless or covered with fine white hairs. Leaves are alternate, lance-like or oval with sharp tips, 3½" (8.9 cm) × 1" (2.5 cm), with blunt serrations. Flowers are greenish-tan, and tiny—less than ⅛" (3.2 mm) across. Although the flowers are inconspicuous, the bracts (modified leaves) surrounding them turn copper-colored, along with the stems and leaf undersides, hence the common name “copperleaf.” They flower from July to October. See this article by Steve Brill on distinguishing among nettles and related plants.

 

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

9/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm) ID is uncertain

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

9/1/2013 · Trail Near James River, Midlothian, VA
≈ 5 × 8" (12 × 19 cm)

Here are some similar species:
 
Laportea canadensis
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Acalypha rhomboidea

Pilea pumila
Common Name

Wood Nettle

Three-seeded Mercury

Clearweed
Plant 24-48" (60-121 cm) high. Stems have stiff white hairs that sting if you rub against them. 6-24" (15-60 cm) tall, with a stem that is hairless or covered with fine white hairs. Bracts beneath flowers, stems, and leaf undersides turn copper-colored. 6-24" (15-60 cm) high, with smooth, round, translucent stems. They do not have stinging hairs.
Flowers Greenish-white, appearing from July to September. Flowers are greenish-tan, and tiny—less than ⅛" (3.2 mm) across. They flower from July to October. Both male and female flowers are on each plant. Fowers are ⅛" (3.2 mm) long, greenish-white or greenish-yellow, hanging in narrow bunches from the axils of the upper leaves.
Leaves Alternating, up to 4" (10 cm) × 6" (15 cm), egg-shaped, with coarse serrations. Leaves are alternate, lance-like or oval with sharp tips, 3½" (8.9 cm) × 1" (2.5 cm), with blunt serrations. Leaves occur in opposite pairs, each 1-5" (2.5-12 cm) long by ½-2½" (1.3-6.3 cm) wide. Leaves are oval-shaped and coarse-toothed, with three prominent veins and textured leaves. The leaves are bright green, usually shiny, and become yellow in the fall.
Range/ Zones

Habitats Moist woods, streambanks. Open woods, moist soils, gravel bars, waste ground, roadsides, railroads. Wet upland or floodplain forests, crevices in rocky canyons, and shady wetlands, streambanks.
Type Wild Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Acalypha rhomboidea on Missouriplants.com

Acalypha rhomboidea at Minnesota Wildflowers

Acalypha rhomboidea at Illinois Wildflowers

Acalypha rhomboidea on Southeastern Flora, the Southeastern U.S. Plant Identification Resource

Acalypha rhomboidea on Keir Morse's site, Keirosity.com

Acalypha rhomboidea at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Acalypha rhomboidea at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Acalypha on src.sfasu.edu

References:

Newcomb, Lawrence, Morrison, Gordon (Illus.), Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Little, Brown and Company, 1977, p. 416

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

9/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

9/1/2013 · Trail Near James River, Midlothian, VA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm) ID is uncertain

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm) ID is uncertain

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Acalypha rhomboidea description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 3 Sep 2013.

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Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

9/1/2013 · Trail Near James River, Midlothian, VA
≈ 4½ × 6" (12 × 16 cm)

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

8/7/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 3½ × 4½" (9.4 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm) ID is uncertain

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

9/1/2013 · Trail Near James River, Midlothian, VA
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 20 cm)

Acalypha rhomboidea (Three-seeded Mercury, Rhombic Three-seeded Mercury, Rhomboid Mercury, Rhombic Copperleaf)

9/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

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