Definition of dog's mercury in English:

dog's mercury

Syllabification: dog's mer·cu·ry

noun

  • A Eurasian plant of the spurge family, with hairy stems and small green flowers, widely found as a dominant plant of old woodland.
    • Mercurialis perennis, family Euphorbiaceae
    More example sentences
    • The charcoal is made from the debris created in the forest-clearing practice known as coppicing, which allows light into the woodland environment, encouraging ancient woodland flowers such as dog's mercury, butterflies and dormice.
    • Even on a late February afternoon, spring flowers were already well in evidence, especially butterbur, coltsfoot, dog's mercury, barren strawberry and even the odd primrose.
    • The woodland areas are dominated by ash, oak, birch and hazel with an interesting ground flora including dog's mercury, wood anemone and moschatel.

Origin

late 16th century: translating modern Latin Mercurialis canina (former taxonomic name); the plant is poisonous and is contrasted with Mercurialis annua 'annual mercury', useful in medicine.

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