UPRIGHT CHICKWEED

Moenchia erecta

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8cream
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round
rarity
rarityZuncommon
sex
sexZbisexual

5th May 2006, Mottistone Common, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The plant is erect to procumbent; here erect (ish) but very low, growing to just 12cm.


5th May 2006, Mottistone Common, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
It is without hairs (glabrous) and may be covered in a waxy sheen (glaucous). The leaves are linear and grass-like (the wider ones here are actually of grass).


5th May 2006, Mottistone Common, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The petals are shorter than the sepals.


10th April 2011, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
A short annual, up to 12cm tall.


10th April 2011, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
Leaves are stiff, glaucous, un-stalked and linear.


10th April 2011, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
Flowers only open when the sun is shining, otherwise they are closed and the plant is very hard to spot amidst the grass. Leaves tend to redden slightly, especially at the tip.


10th April 2011, Photo: © Phillip Bagshaw
Flowers white un-notched and with only four petals. Sepals have a white border, taper to a point and are longer than the petals.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Chick Pea (Cicer arietinum) [a plant yielding the harvested vegetable chickpeas with a similar name, belonging to the Pea Family].

A misnomer; not a Chickweed at all! For a start it has but four petals, which are not notched. The leaves are not as wide as those of Chickweeds either, but are narrow like those of Stitchworts (but it is neither), being alone in the Moenchia genus (although like Chickweeds and Stitchworts it is in the same family, Caryophyllaceae)

It grows on bare-ish sandy soils or gravelly turf such as those on shorelines or on over-grazed fields and is fairly rare. It is native and is the only plant in the Genus Moenchia (or at least in the UK).

Found mostly south of Manchester such as in mid-Wales, near the coast in Devon and Cornwall, around Southhampton area and West of London and around Kent.

[The colour temperature difference between the two sets of photos are because one set is shot with 35m colour film when the sun is fairly low and using a camera that cannot automatically compensate for colour temperature deviation from ~ 5600°K of the midday sun in the UK].


  Moenchia erecta  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Caryophyllaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carnation & Campion (Pink) family8Caryophyllaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Moenchia
Moenchia
(Upright Chickweed)

UPRIGHT CHICKWEED

Moenchia erecta

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]