COMMON WHITLOWGRASS (agg.)

SPRING WHITLOWGRASS (agg.)

Erophila verna

(Formerly: Erophila spathulata and Erophila praecox)
Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

month8jan month8feb month8mar month8march month8apr month8april

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8yellow
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
4 (8)
petals
petalsZcleft petalsZcut
 
stem
stem8round
 

2nd May 2008, Daisy Nook Country Park, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Growing in dry bare places, or on rocks, walls or mountains.


8th April 2011, Harris House, Hardraw, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
A very low plant, less than three inches high, with a basal rosette of leaves and no stem leaves. Each plant can have a few narrow stems, with small groups of flowers atop. Flowering stems lack leaves (unlike the other Whitlowgrasses belonging to a differing genus, Draba)


12th March 2014, Dry Dock, L&L canal, Wigan. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are all basal, with no stem leaves. In this specimen the leaves are sparsely toothed near the end, another example of the variability of this plant.


8th April 2011, Harris House, Hardraw, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
Four short green, sparsely hairy sepals surround four white petals.


8th April 2011, Harris House, Hardraw, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
Petals may be over-lapped before fully opening out.


2nd May 2008, Daisy Nook Country Park, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Fully opened and splayed out, the four petals are seen to have deep clefts more than half-way down the petals. Four to six stamens with yellow pollen.


2nd May 2008, Daisy Nook Country Park, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
In maturing flowers a flattened oval pod enlarges.


9th May 2014, crack in pavement, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The oval cross-section of the seed pod is in evidence here, as is the shuttlecock-like nature of the flowers before fully opening.


12th March 2014, Dry Dock, L&L canal, Wigan. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flower buds are small and spherical.


9th May 2014, crack in pavement, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
This specimen has 5 anther-tipped stamens and a single discoidal stigma in the centre.


12th March 2014, Dry Dock, L&L canal, Wigan. Photo: © RWD
Seed pods are long and ovaloid but usually asymmetrical.


2nd May 2008, Daisy Nook Country Park, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Green flattened oval pods.


8th April 2011, Harris House, Hardraw, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
The basal rosette of leaves may or may not be toothed; the plant is very variable.


8th April 2011, Harris House, Hardraw, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are sparsely covered in hairs arising from small pimples on the surface.


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
When it has died, only the translucent papery-thin seed pods survive on their dried-out fawn-coloured stems.


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Most of these pods are curved into banana or boomerang shapes. The brown seeds within the thin pods are easily seen through the paper-thin whitish membranes, sometimes singly or with up to (maybe) half a dozen seeds in, but some have none. This might be because some have escaped but this seems unlikely - the seed pods don't appear broken. However, Clive Stace says there are between 15 to 50 seeds in a pod, which maybe the fully populated all-brown pod on the right might confirm.


4th May 2019, Fairy Glen, Appley Bridge, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The seeds themselves are flat(ish), brown and oval


Not to be confused with : Grass-of-Parnassus, Sea Arrow-grass, Marsh Arrow-grass, Sparrowgrass, Danish Scurvygrass, Common Scurvygrass, English Scurvygrass, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Eelgrass, Yellow-Eyed-Grass, Blue-eyed-Grass, Grass Poly, Grass-Leaved Orache, Grass-wrack Pondweed or Grass [plants with similar names].

Not to be mistaken for : Hairy Whitlowgrass (Erophila majuscula) or Glabrous Whitlowgrass (Erophila glabrescens) which have petals deeply cleft to only half-way rather than more than half-way in the case of Common Whitlowgrass. Also, Hairy Whitlowgrass is covered in densely grey downy hairs whereas Common Whitlowgrass is sparsely hairy, and Glabrous Whitlowgrass is sparsely downy rather than sparsely hairy.

Differentiated from most other Whitlowgrasses by : the deep cleft (over half-way) in the four petals.

Slight resemblance to : Mouse-ears and Stitchworts which mostly also have deeply cleft petals, but they have five rather than four petals. Of the Mouse-ears, only Grey Mouse-ear has four rather than five petals, but it is silvery grey.

Common Whitlowgrass flowers early in the season and grows in dry places such as walls, rocks, mountains and bare dry places.


  Erophila verna  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Cabbage family8Brassicaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Erophila
Erophila
(Whitlowgrasses)

COMMON WHITLOWGRASS (agg.)

SPRING WHITLOWGRASS (agg.)

Erophila verna

(Formerly: Erophila spathulata and Erophila praecox)
Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

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