Mollugo verticillata L.

Mollugo verticillata plant

Family - Aizoaceae

Stems - Prostrate to ascending, multiple from base, glabrous, dichotomously branched, from branched taproot, with slightly swollen nodes.

Mollugo verticillata nodeNode of stem.

Leaves - In whorls of 4 to 8, sessile or tapering to a short petiole, spatulate to narrowly oblanceolate, entire, glabrous, to 2cm long, +4mm broad, acute, with single prominent midvein.

Mollugo verticillata leavesWhorl of leaves.

Inflorescence - 1-5 pedicillate flowers from each leaf axil. Pedicels to +/-10mm long, glabrous, filiform.

Flowers - Calyx lobes to 2mm long, glabrous, white internally, externally with 3 green vertical lines(united at apex) and white margins. Stamens 3, white, glabrous, 1.4mm long. Anthers yellow, to .3mm long. Ovary of 3 united carpels, globose, superior, glabrous, green. Placentation axile. Styles to .4mm long. Capsule to 2.2mm long, ovoid, many seeded. Seeds brown, shiny, reniform, .6mm broad.

Mollugo verticillata flowerFlower close-up.

Flowering - May - November.

Habitat - Waste ground, disturbed sites, glades, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Central and South America.

Other info. - This miniature weed can be found throughout Missouri and much of the U.S.
The plant is simple to ID in the field because of its whorled leaves, pedicillate flowers, and prostrate nature. Although the plant is typically found as a small specimen, it is quite capable of forming a large mat.
Some authors place the plant in another family, the Molluginaceae.

Photographs taken at the Honey Creek Conservation Area, MO., 6-14-03.


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