Arenaria serpyllifolia L. - Thymeleaf Sandwort
Family - Caryophyllaceae
Stems - Multiple from base, from taproot, ascending to erect, branching, herbaceous, densely retrorse strigillose, to +/-15cm tall.
Leaves - Opposite, sessile, ovate, acute, entire, glabrous, with antrorse strigillose margins, 3-4mm broad, 6-7mm long.
Inflorescence - Axillary single flowers or terminal loose cymes. Pedicels elongating in fruit to 1cm, retrorse strigose.
Flowers - Petals 5, white, entire, glabrous, to 3mm long, distinct. Stamens 10, erect. Filaments white, glabrous, 1mm long. Anthers whitish to pale yellow. Styles 3, white, glabrous, -1mm long. Ovary superior, green, glabrous, 1.5mm long, 1mm in diameter, unilocular. Placentation free-central. Ovules many. Sepals 5, glandular pubescent, lanceolate, 1.2mm broad, 4mm long, acute.
Flowering - April - August.
Habitat - Glades, fields, bluffs, roadsides, railroads.
Origin - Native to Europe.
Other info. - This tiny plant is common in Missouri but mostly south of the Missouri River. This species can be identified in the field by its small ovate leaves and its small white petals, which are smaller than the sepals.
Photographs taken in Gainesville, FL., 2-11-03, and at Providence Prairie, Lawrence County, MO., 6-18-05.