Lesser Stitchwort

Lesser_Stitchwort_jpgThis family (Caryophyllaceae) commonly called the Pink or Carnation Family consists of 89 genera and 2,070 species of herbs, shrubs and a few trees found in temperate and warm climates.  Latin caryophlum means “a clove” alluding to the clove-like scent to some carnations. The genus Stellaria is from stella and means “star” and the species graminea means “grass-like”.  Stellaria refers to the star shaped flowers. Gerard wrote in his Herbal (1597) “They are wont to drink it in wine with the powder of Acornes, against the paine in the side, stitches, and such like”.  Lesser Stitchwort was recognized as a treatment for a stitch in the side.  The term “wort” is an old English term for herb or plant.Lesser Stitchwort is found in well-drained, open ground of meadows, grassy places and roadsides.  It is a common weed in many habitats.

OtherCommonName:

English Stitchwort, Common Stitchwort

ScientificName:

Stellaria graminea

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Naturalized from Europe

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

8 to 20 inches

FruitingTime:

June to November

Distribution:

Newfoundland to South Carolina ~ Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

Late May to mid July

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Stem weak, reclining or ascending ~ Leaves linear or lance shaped, firm ~ Many flowered, star shaped, terminal in groups extending half way to the base ~ Seeds oblong, finely roughened