The Dog’s Mercury grows abundantly in England and Scotland but is rare in Ireland. You find it during early spring in woods and shady places and thickets.
This is one of our green flowers. It has no beautiful coloured petals to attract the bees or insects.
The Dog’s Mercury is a bushy, upright plant, with a stout, four-sided green stem, closely covered with pretty leaves.
These leaves grow in pairs, on alternate sides of the stem: they are oval, and slightly hairy, and the edges are cut all round into sharp teeth.
Where each leaf joins the stem a flower-stalk rises, and in the Dog’s Mercury there are two kinds of flowers. On one stalk you find groups of small flowers clustered at close intervals round the stalk. Each of these flowers has three broadly pointed green sepals, which curl slightly at the tips. In the centre of these sepals rises a large bunch of eight to sixteen yellow-headed stamens. In these flowers there are no petals, and no seed-vessel.
But you will find different flowers on another plant. These flowers have also three green sepals, and are without petals. But in the centre lie two hairy green seed-vessels, like small peas joined together, and on the top of these seed-vessels are two tiny green horns.
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