Ontario Weeds: Thyme-leaved sandwort

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Leaves
  7. Flowers and Fruit
  8. Habitat
  9. Similar Species
  10. Related Links

Name: Thyme-leaved sandwort, Arenaria serphyllifolia L.,

Other Names: Sandwort, sabline à feuilles de serpolet, sabline à feuilles de thym

Family: Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae)

General Description: Annual or more frequently winter annual, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Thyme-leaved sandwort (A - portion of a plant, top view; B - portion of a plant, side view).
Thyme-leaved sandwort
(A - portion of a plant, top view; B - portion of a plant, side view).
Thyme-leaved sandwort.
Thyme-leaved sandwort.
Stems & Roots: Stems - erect, usually much-branched from near the base, 5-25cm (2-10in.) high, covered with very short inward-curved or nearly flat-lying hair which gives a somewhat rough texture and a bluish-green colour.

Leaves: Small, opposite (2 per node), stalkless, slightly rough-hairy, ovate with a pointed tip, 4-8mm (1/6-1/3in.) long and usually shorter than the length of stem between pairs;

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers very small, 2-3mm (1/12-1/8in.) long, greenish (the tiny white petals too small to show), on very slender stalks up to 10mm (2/5in.) long in branching inflorescences; seedpod ovoid, about 3mm (1/8in.) long, opening at the tip and releasing many, extremely fine (0.5mm, 1/50in. in diameter) seeds. Flowers from late spring to late summer but is dry, shriveled, and virtually gone by fall at which time the tiny new seedlings are appearing.

Habitat: Thyme-leaved sandwort occurs throughout Ontario in dry sandy soils. It is most common in fall rye and winter wheat where its winter annual habit is an advantage; but it also occurs in spring-sown crops, gardens, roadsides, orchards, sandy beaches and in rocky places.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by its bluish-green appearance, very small leaves, slightly rough stems and leaves, and tiny greenish flowers.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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