COWHERB

Vaccaria hispanica

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8pink
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZtrumpet
stem
stem8round

Unknown date and place. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
A hairless erect annual growing to 60cm high. The jizz of the plant looks very similar to that of Yellow-wort (Blackstonia perfoliata) except that the leaves of those are more pointed, and they are definitely amplexicaul (completely surround the stem) unlike Cowherb. The flowering top is not as symmetrical as that of Yellow-wort either. Also - Yellow-wort has 7 petals which are yellow


Unknown date and place. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
Leaves glabrous and glaucous. The flowers are in a lax dichasia (a peduncle bearing a terminal flower with two bracteoles which subtend lateral stalked flowers, and in the case of Cowherb, it is a compound dichasium - which repeats this branching pattern on the side axes). None the wiser? Look at the better photo below.


Unknown date and place. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak


Unknown date and place. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
The calyx has 5 pinched wings tipped by short reddened teeth. The calyx inflates when it is in fruit. The flower stalks are thin and wiry, as is the main stem (but slightly thicker).


Unknown date and place. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
The flower is trumpet-shaped flaring out more tuba-fashion into 5 petals.


Unknown date and place. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
The petals are pink with deeper pink veins. The edges are somewhat irregularly toothed. It has 2 styles and "twice as many stamens as there are sepals (of which there are 5), but sometimes fewer ". So that will be 10 or less then altogether ... Your Author sees only 3 and notes that 3 is indeed less than 10...


Unknown date and place. Photo: © Bastiaan Brak
The leaves are glaucous and in opposite pairs, clasping the stem - attached directly to the stem without stalks. They are lanceolate to ovate in shape. Sometimes a flowering stalk emerges just above a leaf-pair, two are shown emerging from separate leaf-pairs here.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Cowbane (Cicuta virosa), Cowslip (Primula veris), Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), Cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratens), Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) or any other Cow-wheat or Cowslip [plants with similar names from disparate families].

There is only one member worldwide in the Vaccaria genus and this is it, Cowberry. Vaccaria is thus a monotypic genus. It is not native to the UK, but rather to Eurasia. In the UK it is grown in parks and gardens and can also be found where it was disposed of: on tips or waste ground, but on occasion can escape from birdseed.

It is an annual.


  Vaccaria hispanica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Caryophyllaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carnation & Campion (Pink) family8Caryophyllaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Vaccaria
Vaccaria
(Cowherb)

COWHERB

Vaccaria hispanica

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]