ANNUAL PEARLWORT

Sagina apetala

(Formerly: Sagina ciliata)
Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
flower
flower8green
 
inner
inner8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
4-(5)
stem
stem8round
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

2nd June 2007, on sand, Princeslade, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
A branched plant with a flower at the top of each branch. Leaves in well-separated whorls up the stems.


17th May 2007, Kern Farm, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
It is a well-branched and erect annual plant growing to 15cm high.


2nd June 2007, on sand, Princeslade, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Showing a multiply-branched stem. All leaves narrow-triangular. Some are in opposite pairs just below each branch, whilst others are in small well-isolated whorls where there are no branches.


17th May 2007, Kern Farm, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The leaves are in small whorls of about 4 up the stem. A single flower atops each stem.


7th June 2011, a verge, Sandown, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The flowers have 4 or 5 green sepals with 4 or 5 creamy petals. The anthers are yellow, if they are visible.


6th June 2011, Arreton, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
These flowers are now turned mostly to fruits


30th April 2011, Sandown, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The fruit here has gone a mottled grey colour. Leaves narrow-triangular with tiny acuminate point at tip. Here the (usually 4, sometimes 5) anthers can still be seen surrounding the fruit. The fruit is a capsule 1.4 to 2mm long (occasionally up to 2.5mm).


7th June 2011, a verge, Sandown, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
A developing fruit within the sepals. The leaves with a point just 0.1 to 0.4mm long (best seen in the leaf near left side).


20th July 2016, in grass, Lock 5, Rufford Canal, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A well-bifurcated-branched specimen with 2 cupped bracts just below the branches. Near the top the plant can be either glandular hairy or without hairs.


20th July 2016, in grass, Lock 5, Rufford Canal, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
4 sepals cup the fruits here. Deceased insect clings on to the right-hand branch.


20th July 2016, in grass, Lock 5, Rufford Canal, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The 2 bracts around an unbranched part of the stem.


20th July 2016, in grass, Lock 5, Rufford Canal, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Two unripe fruits.


20th July 2016, in grass, Lock 5, Rufford Canal, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
With one of the 4 sepals and 4 petals having dropped off making just 3 of each on this specimen. Tiny dead insect stuck to stem. Short appressed hairs can be discerned on this stem.


Not to be semantically confused with : Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), Pearlfruit (Margyricarpus pinnatus) nor with Pearlwort Spurrey (Spergula morisonii) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

It is a native plant which grows on dry bare ground on heaths or on paths or sea-cliffs. It occurs scattered over much of the British Isles. It is somewhat variable in its general appearance. Take with pinches of NaCl.

The very similar plant, Slender Pearlwort (Sagina filicaulis), occurs more often in man-made habitats but the margins of the sepals are often red (instead of the white of Annual Pearlwort) and the length of well-developed fruit-capsules protrudes from the sepals by more than 12% (rather than by less than 10% for Annual Pearlwort). It is always possible that the specimen from Lock 5 on the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is indeed of this other species. The two species were once categorised as being 2 sub-species of Annual Purslane.


  Sagina apetala  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Caryophyllaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carnation & Campion (Pink) family8Caryophyllaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Sagina
Sagina
(Pearlworts)

ANNUAL PEARLWORT

Sagina apetala

(Formerly: Sagina ciliata)
Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]