CORN SPURREY

Spergula arvensis

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round

6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The long plant starting bottom centre, not the plant upper right. Stems usually reddish brown spreading in 5 or 6 directions. 40 to 60cm tall.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A seedling just growing.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Stems round and stickily hairy, hence the stray pappus top right. Leaves in whorls at intervals along the stem. The flowers that are yet to open are bent over as in Spergularia species such as Rock Sea-Spurrey whilst open flowers are pointing in the other direction.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Open flower and bent-over-double as-yet un-opened flowers.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Plant has glandular sticky hairs all over - see sand-grains sticking to stem. Five sepals encase closed flowers, the lower part of the sepals in dark and light green.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flower 4 to 7mm across with five white petals, each with a short flat attachment to the centre. Ovary pale-green in centre, with 5 pale cream stigma atop each on a separate style. There should be 10 stamens, each with yellow anthers (only 8 on this specimen).


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Five triangular sepals each with a wide white margin around the edges. Petals longer or equal to the length of the sepals.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Sticky glandular hairs cover every part except the petals.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Long narrow leaves 10-30mm long, often greyish green, with tapering circular cross-section bunch at every node, which is swollen.


6th June 2015, arable field, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Glandular hairs have a sticky bobble atop. Leaves not quite circular cross-section, they have a slight groove running lengthwise on the outside.


Could be confused with : Sea Spurreys such as Rock Sea-Spurrey (Spergularia rupicola) [plants with similar name belonging to the same Family (Caryophyllaceae) but differing Genus with similar folded stance of buds in relation to flowers but with azure and white flowers]

There are two varieties:

  • Corn Spurrey Spergula arvensis var. arvensis has seeds without (or with a very narrow) flange (wing) and with sparse glandular hairs. More common in South East England.
  • Corn Spurrey Spergula arvensis var. sativa has seeds without pimples and a wider wing. Glandular hairs numerous. Commoner in the North West.

The specimens above from Aughton are therefore probably var. sativa seeing as the glandular hairs are densely numerous and it is in the NW.

No relation to : Corn Marigold (Glebionis segetum), Corn Buttercup (Ranunculus arvensis), Corn Chamomile (Anthemis arvensis), Corn-cockle (Agrostemma githago) or Corn Mint (Mentha arvensis), [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Growing in arable fields, a calcifuge (doesn't like alkaline soils), declining and vulnerable, but not yet rare. Grows on sandy soils (sand is acidic - unless it is from the sea with parts of sea-shells mixed in with it - which are alkaline) The flowers are hypogynous.


  Spergula arvensis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Caryophyllaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carnation & Campion (Pink) family8Caryophyllaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Spergula
Spergula
(Spurreys)

CORN SPURREY

Spergula arvensis

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]