lavateraguy's picture

Pearlwort? Spurrey? something else?

Observed: 15th August 2013 By: lavateraguylavateraguy’s reputation in Plantslavateraguy’s reputation in Plantslavateraguy’s reputation in Plantslavateraguy’s reputation in Plantslavateraguy’s reputation in Plants

Prostrate plant growing in roadside gutter in housing estate. Differs from the usual urban pearlworts (procumbens/apetala/filicaulis) in having easily visible petals (the named species have absent or diminutive petals), and doesn't appear to be rooting at nodes. Some of the flowers have a pinkish tinge, but this is washed out in the photograph.
Doesn't appear to match Sagina nodosa or Sagina subulata, and is more compact than I would expect for a Spegularia.
[Updated 17/8/13: various things appear to have gone wrong with the initial entry of this observation.]
[Updated 20/8/13: photographs replaced; location fixed.
The petals are very pale pink, looking white in most lights.
The calyx is tubular and less that half the length of the petals. This, I believe, eliminates Sagina, Spergula and Spergularia.]
[Updated 03/10/13: I found (back on 21Sep2013) a second plant 95m away.]

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Annual Gypsophila (Gypsophila muralis) interacts


lavateraguy's picture

iSpot has mangled the location ...

... truncating the coordinates to the nearest whole degrees. The actual location is SJ85C (vc Cheshire).

dejayM's picture


I can't get near the ID, sorry.
But I wonder if you know that you can modify the location - precisely?
I sometimes switch to Satellite view to get an exact position, to within a meter or two.
Simply go to Edit, Use Map and change it.
Unless I'm missing something of course.

lavateraguy's picture

Yes, I know, ...

... and I have subsequently fixed the location.

The original problem was that I did as you recommend. Apparently if you enter a location with the map at full satellite zoom, iSpot sometimes (repeatably for specific locations) truncates the coordinates to integral degrees.

This is discussed in the Report Problems forum.

lavateraguy's picture


That seems to be it, except that I'm not sure than it's Gypsophila repens rather than the smaller-flowered Gypsophila muralis.

Now I know what I'm looking for I can have another look.

[The flowers are sufficiently small that even with a hand (compass) lens I couldn't make out androecial and gynoecial details, but I thought that it might have had two styles, which matches Gypsophila.]

landgirl's picture

A long shot, but could it be...

...a dwarfed garden Agrostemma? Not sure of the scale in the photos but I'm guessing the flowers are very small? It does look like it belongs to Caryophyllaceae.
Edit: Missed the previous ID, sounds more likely!

lavateraguy's picture

repens or muralis

On the one hand Flora Iberica places these taxa in separate subgenera (and G. muralis has been placed in the segregate genus Psammophiliella). On the other hand they have also been in the past placed in a single species. On the gripping hand I've found it hard to distinguish between them on the basis of photographs and descriptions.

G. repens is a subshrub (perennial, woody at least at the base); G. muralis is an herbaceous annual. The observed plant is fairly stiff-stemmed, and I am not confident of distinguishing such an annual from a young shrub.

The leaves of both species are linear to linear-lanceolate (rarely elliptical in G. repens). The observed plant fits G. muralis in size and shape, but is not definitely smaller than the bottom of the range for G. repens. G. muralis has leaves that are ciliate basally, but I was unable to make out any such hairs.

The corolla is about 8mm in diameter. This fits G. muralis, and is toward to lower end of the range for G. muralis. The calyx is divided for about 1/4 of its length, again fitting G. muralis, contrasting with 1/2 its length of G. repens.

All in all, I think it's G. muralis, but would be happier if I could see G. repens in the flesh for comparison.