Monday, July 5, 2010

Lesser Stitchwort



Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)

Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)

I had this one misidentified at first. For some reason, I thought it was "Greater Stitchwort" but I came across it again this morning, along the road just short of the Cowran Estate (with its rheas and Scottish Highland Cattle), and plucked a strand to take a closer look when I got home.

It's impossible to tell from the photos here but the leaves of Lesser Stitchwort are much shorter (less than 4cm ~ about 1 inch) as compared to Greater Stitchwort (between 4-8cm). [All that foliage in the photo is from neighboring grasses which help support the Stitchwort.] Taking a magnified view of the flowers ... petals and sepals are roughly the same length.



Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)

Growing in the grass
The reason I like the Stitchwort so much is that I only notice it in this one spot where the grass is allowed to grow taller along the side of the road. There are usually cows or sheep in the field and it's a restful place.

I've found that it's helpful to have more than one source to use for identification. My first choice, my little Collins Nature Guide (color-coded), lists only the Greater Stitchwort (which was probably the reason for my earlier misidentification). Next, I'd try my favorite, Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain, which has excellent illustrations and really fun-to-read entries. And that would lead me to the authoritative (and not so much fun) Collins Flower Guide [still mostly mumbo-jumbo to me]. These three books are not enough! So I've ordered four more.


Loppergarth

Loppergarth

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