Holosteum umbellatum L.

Holosteum umbellatum plant

Family - Caryophyllaceae

Stems - To -30cm tall, multiple from the base, herbaceous, erect, simple, glandular pubescent in the internodes, from a small taproot.

Leaves - Opposite, sessile, +/-3 pairs per stem, ovate-lanceolate, glandular pubescent on the margins, entire, sub-acute, +/-2cm long, 5-6mm broad, more linear at the base of the plant, light blue-green. Opposing pairs of leaves joined at the base and enclosing the stem.

Holosteum umbellatum leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal umbel of 5-10 flowers. Pedicels glabrous and filiform, to -2cm long, erect in flower, drooping later, erect again in fruit. Umbels subtended by minute involucre of connate bracts. Bracts acute, the free portion to 1mm long, glabrous.

Flowers - Petals 5, distinct, white, erose at the apex, +/-4mm long, 2mm broad, tapering to a short claw at the base, glabrous. Stamens 5, erect. Filaments white, glabrous, to -3mm long. Anthers pale yellow, .4mm long, globose. Ovary superior, light green, glabrous, ovoid, 1.5mm long, 1mm in diameter, unilocular, many-ovuled. Placentation free-central. Styles 3, distinct, 1mm long. Sepals 5, ovate-lanceolate, glabrous internally and externally, green, with scarious margins, accrescent, to 3mm long, 1.6mm broad in flower, acute, entire. Capsule to 5mm long, apically dehiscent, brown, scarious, 6-lobed at apex. Seeds ferruginous, 1mm long, glabrous.

Holosteum umbellatum flowerFlower close-up.

Holosteum umbellatum flowerAgain.

Holosteum umbellatum calyxCalyx close-up.

Holosteum umbellatum fruitsFruits.

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Roadsides, railroads, waste places.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This little species can be found throughout Missouri. The plant is easy to ID in the field because of its small size and terminal umbellate inflorescence. The plant has a short growing season and dries quickly after flowering. It can be found in quantity when growing undisturbed.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-13-02 and 3-3-03.