bluntleaf sandwort

(Moehringia lateriflora)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

bluntleaf sandwort

 

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Very common

Habitat

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.

Flowering

May through July

Flower Color

White

Height

Ascending. Stems 2 to 11¾ long


Identification

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.

 
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.


Distribution Distribution Map  

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


Comments

Taxonomy
This plant 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. 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.


Taxonomy

Family:

Caryophyllaceae (pink)

 

Subfamily:

Alsinoideae

 

Tribe:

Alsineae

 
Synonyms

Arenaria lateriflora

Arenaria lateriflora var. angustifolia

Arenaria lateriflora var. tayloriae

 
Common
Names

blunt-leaf sandwort

bluntleaf sandwort

blunt-leaf grove-sandwort

grove sandwort

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Ascending

Curving upward from the base.

 

Awn

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

 

Axil

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

 

Bract

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

 

Claw

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

 

Decumbent

Reclining on the ground but with the tips ascending.

 

Filament

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.

 

Pedicel

In plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. In Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen.

 

Petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

Rhizome

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

       

Visitor Photos

   
Share your photo of this plant.

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Plant

  bluntleaf sandwort   bluntleaf sandwort
       

Inflorescence

  bluntleaf sandwort    
       

Flower

  bluntleaf sandwort    
       

Leaves

  bluntleaf sandwort   bluntleaf sandwort
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
     
     
     
     

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this plant.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Moehringia lateriflora Top # 5 Facts
Harish Pandya
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 29, 2015

Moehringia lateriflora Top # 5 Facts

 
     

 

Camcorder

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2019 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.