Saturday, March 28, 2015

Common Whitlowgrass

Another pavement specialist, this is common whitlowgrass or Erophila verna. The picture on the right is of one of the seed pods which I've opened down the middle of the flattened 'belly' to reveal the seeds. These are attached by tiny stalks in two rows. 
It is a member of the Brassicaceae/Cruciferae or cabbage family and gets its common name from it being used to treat whitlows back in the day. In common with (nearly) all its siblings it has four sepals and petals and six stamens. It is unusual amongst its siblings in having deeply notched petals. It lives fast and dies young, being impossible to find after April is out. 
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