bluntleaf sandwort

(Moehringia lateriflora)

Conservation Status
bluntleaf sandwort
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Bluntleaf sandwort is a common but often overlooked perennial forb. It rises from an extensive network of slender, horizontal, underground stems (rhizomes) and fibrous roots. It often forms small colonies. It occurs in Asia, northern Europe, and North America. In the United States it is common in the northern tier of states but absent in the south. It is very common in Minnesota.

The stems are slender, weak, round, and 2 to 11¾ long. They either curve upward from the base (ascending) or recline on the ground with just the tips ascending (decumbent). They are usually much branched, sometimes sparingly branched. They are green and moderately to densely covered with short, downward curved hairs. They do not have gland-tipped hairs.

The leaves are opposite, ¼ to 1¼ long, and 3 16 to wide, about 3 times as long as wide. They are stalkless or on short stalks (petioles) no more than 1 32 (1.0 mm) long. Rarely, there is a cluster of smaller leaves in the leaf axil. The leaf blades are broadly elliptic to oblong-elliptic or inversely egg-shaped. They are tapered at the base and rounded to bluntly angled at the tip. The leaves are not fleshy, and the leaf base does not fuse with the base of the adjacent leaf. The upper surface is hairless with a prominent, depressed midvein and sometimes a pair of lateral veins. The lower surface is moderately hairy just along the midvein, otherwise hairless. The margins are untoothed and may be hairless of have a fringe of minute hairs.

The inflorescence is is a cluster of 2 to 5 flowers at the end of the stem, single flowers at the branch tips, and sometimes single flowers from the upper and middle leaf axils. The flowers are on erect or ascending, to 1¼ long stalks (pedicels). At the base of each pedicel there is a pair of 1 32 to long appendages (bracts) that look like small leaves with thin white margins.

The flowers are about in diameter. There are 5 sepals at the base of the flower, 5 petals, 10 stamens, and 3 styles. The sepals are green, egg-shaped or inversely egg-shaped, and 1 16 to long, about half as long as the petals. They are rounded or bluntly angled at the tip and have thin white margins. They do not have a pronounced midrib or a bristle-like extension of the midrib (awn). The petals are white, widely spreading, and showy. They are inversely lance-shaped to narrowly inversely egg-shaped and to ¼ long. They are rounded at the tip, not notched, and are tapered at the base but not to a narrow stalk-like base (claw). The stamens rise from the margins of a small nectar disk. The filaments are free, not fused together. The anthers are yellowish-white.

The fruit is an almost globe-shaped, to 3 16 long capsule with 2 to 6 seeds. The capsule has 6 curved teeth on the top. At maturity, the capsule splits open along the teeth, releasing the seeds. The seeds are reddish-brown, smooth, shiny, kidney-shaped, and about 1 32 (1.0 mm) wide. Each seed has a white, spongy, elliptical appendage.




Ascending. Stems 2 to 11¾ long


Flower Color




Similar Species


Large-leaved sandwort (Moehringia macrophylla) leaves are much longer, up to 2 long. It has been reported only in Cook and Lake Counties.

Long-leaved chickweed (Stellaria longifolia) petals are deeply cut, appearing as 10 petals. The leaves are about 5 times as long as wide.

Mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium fontanum ssp. vulgare) petals are deeply notched.


Moist to moderately dry. Woodland edges and openings, open woodlands and gravely riverbanks; less commonly, meadows and prairies. Partial sun to light shade. Loamy, gravelly, or sandy soil.




May through July


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.








Very common

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  


Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  


Caryophyllaceae (pink)  
  Subfamily Alsinoideae  
  Tribe Arenarieae (sandworts)  


Moehringia (grove sandworts)  

Bluntleaf sandwort was formerly classified as Arenaria lateriflora. In 1962 it was transfered to the new genus Moehringia based on the number of chromosomes and on the spongy seed appendage.


Subordinate Taxa


Four varieties have been described based on the width of the leaves and hairs of the underside of the leaves. However, these varieties are not widely accepted.




Arenaria lateriflora

Arenaria lateriflora var. angustifolia

Arenaria lateriflora var. tayloriae


Common Names


blunt-leaf sandwort

bluntleaf sandwort

blunt-leaf grove-sandwort

grove sandwort













Growing upward at an angle or curving upward from the base.



A stiff, bristle-like appendage at the tip of the glume, lemma, or palea of grass florets.



The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A stalk-like narrowed base of some petals and sepals.



Reclining on the ground but with the tips ascending.



On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.


Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.



On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antennae. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

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Other Videos
  Moehringia lateriflora Top # 5 Facts
Harish Pandya

Published on Oct 29, 2015

Moehringia lateriflora Top # 5 Facts




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