Definition of dog's mercury in English:

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dog's mercury


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.
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.


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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dog's mer·cu·ry

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