BOG STITCHWORT

Stellaria alsine

(Formerly: Stellaria uliginosa)
Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ5
5 (10)
petals
petalsZcleft petalsZcut
 
stem
stem8square
 

27th June 2015, Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
A low-lying sprawling mass occupying wettish areas. Flowers small and above the sprawl; it can reach heights of up to 40cm.


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Grows up to 40cm in bogs and mires but not necessarily in acidic soils, it occurs throughout the UK.


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are elliptical to oval like many Chickweeds, but unlike most other Stitchworts.


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Most leaves sessile (without stalks), joined directly onto the stem (except for those on sterile stems which do have stalks). Flowers have 5 deeply-cleft petals. Both main stems and flower petioles are square.


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves amplexicaul (fused together in opposite pairs without stalks across the stem).


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Bracts scarious apart from a green mid-line (not shown). Stamens have lost their anthers.


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Sepals shorter than petals. Petals deeply cleft, with the two halves swivelled apart by maybe 72° so as to be nearly parallel with adjacent petals. This seems to be an identifying feature not mentioned in other texts - your Author thinks that no other Stitchwort exhibits this un-mentioned characteristic. Pale-cream coloured anthers. Flower going to seed top left.


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The developing fruits can just be seen within the finished flowers.


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Growing in wet mud!


12th June 2009, Greenside Mines, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Stems angular, often square, with the ridges being smooth (not rough). Tips of many leaves terminated by a small dark bobble, being a pore (hydathode) to allow excess water out. Stems purportedly glabrous (without hairs).


27th June 2015, Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
A hand held specimen, it is not really this tall!


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD


27th June 2015, Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD


27th June 2015, Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Has 10 stamens with creamy pollen and three white slightly-fuzzy long stigmas in the centre.


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD
Side view of flower. The petals 'float' above the sepals.


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD
The five (always longer than the petals) sepals have a paler margin around their edges. The sepals taper linearly to a point. Of worthy note is the way in which the 5 petals [not ten!] on Bog Stitchwort are deeply-cleft (almost to their centres). But not only that, they diverge widely from one another, doing the splits, such that the 'pairs' which are closest actually belong to two adjacent petals!


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD
The flowers have 10 filaments, only 5 of which here have pollen grains at the top. Bog Stitchwort has three slightly shorter white styles at the top of the green ovary in the centre.


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD
Leaves terminated by water-exuding hydathodes; flower stalks fairly long.


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD
Stems square (ignore the moss which also grows in wet acidic places and ignore the diagonally-crossing grass leaves).


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD
Most leaves end in a water-exuding hydathode (but not the sepals).


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs Photo: © RWD
The hydathodes at the pointy end of leaves. Leaf stems are square.


Some similarities to : Marsh Stitchwort (Stellaria palustris) which also likes wet ground, but that grows in base-rich (alkaline) soils such as fens and wet lowland grassland (rather than having a preference for acidic soils). Marsh Stitchwort is slightly longer at 60cm (rather than 40cm) and has linear-lanceolate leaves (rather than elliptic/oval) and the petals are longer than the sepals (or just slightly longer) rather than shorter. Moreover, the petals, although cleaved almost to the base, are so angled as to appear as 10 evenly-spaced petals (rather than split so wide apart that adjacent petal halves almost meet).

Slight resemblance to : Water Chickweed (Myosotion aquaticum) but that is usually far bigger at 20-100cm (rather than the 5-20cm of Bog Stitchwort), grows in wettish basic soils (rather than much preferring acidic soils).

Has characters which are intermediate between Stitchworts and Chickweeds. A native perennial plant often found on acid soils in mires and bogs, in ditches or depressions, on wet tracks, or beside streams. Either decumbent or ascending. The size of the flowers is variable; in some conditions they are much smaller than others!


  Stellaria alsine  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Caryophyllaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carnation & Campion (Pink) family8Caryophyllaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Stellaria
Stellaria
(Stitchworts)

BOG STITCHWORT

Stellaria alsine

(Formerly: Stellaria uliginosa)
Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]