By in Science

Upright chickweed

Upright chickweed (Moenchia erecta) is an unusual and somewhat strange plant. It can be found in England and Wales on sea-cliffs, dunes and rocky pastures, but it is not particularly abundant.

What makes it strange is that it is difficult to relate it to other plants. Despite its name it is not a chickweed, nor is it a pearlwort or a stitchwort, which are plants to which true chickweed is related. It has therefore been placed by botanists in a separate group of five closely related plants that are found in different parts of Europe.

Upright chickweed has a main stem that is, as the name suggests, upright, and it also has branches that grow horizontally from the base before also turning upwards. The leaves are broad and heart-shaped. The maximum height is 5 inches (12.5 centimetres).

The flowers appear from April to June. The petals are white and undivided, being shorter than the sepals which are pointed and have a white margin. The seed-pod is about the same length as the sepals and its opening is surrounded by eight teeth.

Other posts that might interest you include Common chickweed , Bladder campion , Night-flowering catchfly , Square-stalked St John's-wort , Common St John's-wort , Common rock-rose , Mountain pansy , Common dog violet, Sweet violet , Common milkwort , Garlic mustard , Watercress , Common scurvygrass , Shepherd's purse , Field penny-cress , Swine-cress , Smith's pepperwort , Sea rocket, Gold-of-pleasure , Treacle mustard , Winter-cress , Northern yellow-cress , Hedge mustard , Annual wall-rocket, Wild radish , Common fumitory , Greater celandine , Weld , Welsh poppy , Opium poppy , Common poppy , Yellow water-lily , Yellow horned-poppy , White water-lily , Wood anemone , Pale flax , Common river-crowfoot , Lesser spearwort, Meadow buttercup , Traveller's joy , Marsh-marigold, Hairy rock-cress , Comfrey, Tutsan , River water-crowfoot, Sea-purslane , Lesser celandine , Fairy flax , Black mustard , Creeping buttercup , Annual knawel , Stinking hellebore , Allseed , Maiden pink , Soapwort , Spring beauty , Field mouse-ear , Prickly poppy , Corn spurrey , Wild pansy , Red campion , Ragged robin , Charlock , Greater stitchwort , Perennial glasswort , Cuckoo flower and Climbing corydalis


Image Credit » Drawing by Walter Hood Fitch. Public domain, copyright expired.

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Comments

markgraham wrote on January 29, 2016, 12:53 PM

Artist's depictions are not as great as photographs are to show what a flower or plant is really like, but I get the idea that is just a weed and from the drawing not a very elaborate one either.

MegL wrote on January 29, 2016, 1:17 PM

It can be hard to relate some plants to others without all the modern genetic techniques.