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Wood Stitchwort - Stellaria nemorum

By 213hardy      
Another from our local Nature reserve on Sunday afternoon, like the way the sun was catching it, although not the sharpest still quite like it.

Height: 20-50 cm (8-20 in.). Stem ascending erect (flowerless shoots limp), abundantly branched, delicate, hairy.
Flower: Corolla regular (actinomorphic), white, approx. 2 cm (0.8 in.) broad; petals 5, deeply 2-lobed (looks like 10 petals), 12-15 mm (0.48-0.6 in.) long, approx. twice as long as sepals. Sepals 5, glabrous base hairy, membranous margins. Stamens 10. Gynoecium syncarpous, with 3 styles. Inflorescence a 10-50 flowered, 2-branched cyme; subtending bracts green.
Leaves: Opposite, lowest long-stalked, uppermost stalkless. Blade ovate, lower cordate-based, upper blunt wedge-based, with entire margins, light green.
Habitat: Damp broad-leaved forests, rich mixed swamps, stream banks, springs, tall-growing meadows.
Flowering time: June-July.

Wood stitchwort is the choosiest species in its family: it only grows on fertile and damp soil. It is regarded as a wonderful indicator of damp broad-leaved forests, often it is actually a question of perspective if the vegetation type is regarded as broad-leaved forest or rich swamp. Usually the species clear demands regarding its habitat are met at the bottom of valleys, and 100 years ago the plant was known as valley stitchwort in Finland. Despite its fragile qualities the species grows in some places in Lapland.

Wood stitchworts year begins early in spring: at the end of April the plants leaves are already full-sized and it begins to flower as May turns into June. The flowers five petals (Stellaria means star) are doubly lobed to their base, so it is ten times crenellated, like a twinkling white star in the dim light of the forest. By July the flower is a distant memory as the seeds develop and eventually drop to the ground. In a suitable habitat wood stitchwort will expand into wide, dense stands which are almost impossible for other plants to grow among. The species owes its dominant status to its abundantly branched runners, which creep along the ground.

Wood stitchwort strongly resembles water chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum), but it is much more demanding with regards to its habitat. Additionally, it is erect or ascending when it is flowering, while water chickweed is always limp. Both have hairy stems. One sure way of telling them apart, although it requires precision, is the number of stigmas: wood stitchwort has 3 and water chickweed has 5.

All C&Cs welcome

Thanks for looking

Den

Tags: Stitchwort General Close-up Wildflower Flowers and plants Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature

Voters: cabbie, nonur, gazlowe and 17 more


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Comments


nonur Plus
7 17 10 Turkey
26 Jun 2012 7:09AM
Nicely framed good shot, Den! Great write up!Smile

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Nice capture of light against the dark background.. Good detailed write up
Fefe Plus
4 23 31 United Kingdom
26 Jun 2012 8:18AM
Lovely light and comp!
Diane
WhiteRose1 Plus
6 1.6k 148 England
26 Jun 2012 9:49AM
Well captured, Den, an almost translucent effect. Detailed description - just don't test me on it later!!

Dave

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