Claoxylon mercurialis (L.) Thwaites
Mercurialis abyssinica Hochst. ex Pax & K.Hoffn.
Mercurialis alternifolia Lam.
Microstachys mercurialis (L.) Dalzell & A.Gibson
Tragia mercurialis L.
Micrococca mercurialis is an annual plant growing up to 60cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. The leaves are a very popular food in Uganda, where they are commonly sold in local markets. The plant is also cultivated in gardens in Uganda and is often protected when growing wild or as a weed[
Tropical Africa - Mauritania and Senegal to Ethipoia, south to Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Madagascar; through Arabia to Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia
Open places in woodland and bushland, along rivers and shores, commonly in ruderal habitats, sometimes as a weed, at elevations from sea-level up to 1,700 metres[
|Cultivated, Semi-cultivated, Wild
The plant is often found as a weed in gardens and fields within its native range[
The species Micrococca mercurialis comprises a polyploidal complex that is selected by climate, which determines the duration of the growth cycle. There are three forms:
2n = 20 The diploid form, it is found in the dry sudan zone and has a short growth cycle[
2n = 40 The tetraploid form, it is found in the intermediate guinean zone[
2n = 60 The hexaploid form, it is found in the humid dense forest zone and has a long or continuous growth cycle[
Leaves - cooked and eaten as a vegetable[
]. An acid flavour[
]. In Uganda the leaves are widely used as a vegetable and the method of preparation and popularity differs by region. They can be dried and pounded to a powder for storage and later use, lasting in good condition for a year or more[
The plant is used to treat fever in children[
The plant sap is instilled into the nose, eyes or ears to treat headache, filariasis of the eye and otitis, respectively[
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