Species of the Month - April 2017
Stitchwort is a woodland plant that flowers in April and May, taking
advantage of the light that reaches the woodland floor before the canopy
closes over, and providing food for spring insects, such as this
hoverfly, Platycheirus albimanus, which pollinate the plant in return.
petals are each divided to about halfway, and are about twice as long as
the green sepals. This distinguishes it from the Lesser
Stitchwort, whose petals are divided almost to the base and are not a
lot longer than the sepals. Lesser Stitchwort has much smaller
flowers than Greater Stitchwort and appears later in the year.
The leaves are
narrow and grass-like, held close to the stem until flowering when they
spread out at a wide angle. The stems are square and rather weak,
often using the support of other vegetation to keep upright.
flowers have 10 stamens in two rings of 5, which each stand upright in
turn. When these begin to fade, three styles appear in the centre
of the flower. Then as the petals wither the capsule expands to a
gooseberry-green globe containing the seeds, which it releases when
Greater Stitchwort often grows with Bluebells. It begins to flower before the Bluebells come out, but continues flowering along with them.
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