Mollugo verticillata L.
CC = *
CW = 0
MOC = 68
Family - Molluginaceae
Habit - Annual forb from branched taproot.
Stems - Prostrate and mat-forming, to 40 cm, branched, glabrous, with slightly swollen nodes.
Leaves - In whorls of 3-8, simple. Blades 8-40 mm long, broadly to narrowly oblanceolate to nearly linear, rounded or pointed at the tip, narrowed gradually at the base, sessile or with a short, winged petiole 1-4 mm long, entire, glabrous, with a single prominent midvein.
Inflorescence - Axillary clusters of 1-5 flowers. Flower stalks slender, glabrous, 5-15 mm long, drooping in fruit.
Flowers - Sepals 2.0-2.5 mm long, elliptic or narrowly oblong, white or pale green, externally with 3 green vertical lines (united at the apex) and white margins, glabrous. Petals absent. Stamens 3 or 4, white, glabrous, 1.4 mm long. Anthers yellow, to 0.3 mm long. Ovary of 3 united carpels, globose, superior, glabrous, green. Placentation axile. Styles to 0.4 mm long. Stigmas on very short, curved styles.
Fruits - Capsules 2.5-3.0 mm long, ovoid to ellipsoid. Seeds 0.6 mm broad, without a caruncle or linear appendage, but with a minute peglike protuberance at the attachment point, the seed coat with several arching ridges along the sides and back, shiny, dark reddish brown.
Flowering - May - November.
Habitat - Streambanks, often in sandy soils, fields, gardens, roadsides, railroads, open disturbed areas.
Origin - Native to Central and South America; naturalized nearly worldwide.
Lookalikes - Sherardia arvensis; broadly, species of Galium.
Other info. - This mat-forming weed can be found throughout Missouri, and also across much of the continental U.S. It is uncommon or absent in western Plains and mountain states. It is easily recognized by its flat, wiry aspect, whorled leaves, and tiny white flowers. The plants grow and mature quickly, sometimes progressing from seed germination to flowering within the space of a few days.
Photographs taken at the Honey Creek Conservation Area, MO., 6-14-03 (DETenaglia); also near Labadie, Franklin County, MO, 7-27-2022 (SRTurner).