Species of the Month - April 2018

Three-nerved Sandwort

Moehringia trinervia

Moehringia trinveria   Moehringia trinveria

This month's species looks similar to Chickweed at first glance but is much less common.  Its 5 petals are rounded, not notched or divided like those of chickweeds and stitchworts.  The white petals are shorter than the green sepals.  In an open flower the calyx (sepals) is about 6-10 mm across, but the corolla (petals) is about 4-7 mm in diameter.

Moehringia trinervia


  Moehringia trinervia

The flower has 10 stamens and 3 styles.  The leaves have 3 main veins (sometimes 5 can be seen) and have tiny spine-like hairs all round the edge.  The sepals are also 3-veined.

Moehringia trinervia

The flowers are solitary, each on a long stalk arising singly from a leaf axil.  The stalk lengthens even further in fruit.  The fruit is a round capsule containing black seeds.

Moehringia trinervia   Moehringia trinervia

The plant is normally annual but can occasionally overwinter.  It occurs in woods and on mossy walls and partly shaded roadside banks, preferring dry, neutral and fairly rich soils.  It is near the edge of its range in Argyll, with scattered records further up the west coast to Gairloch.

Moehringia trinervia

Three-nerved Sandwort straggling among other young vegetation in the wooded gorge of a hill burn.  Here it flowers before the tree canopy closes over, and attracts early flying insects seeking nectar.  In more open places it can flower at any time during the summer.

Moehringia trinervia

Please send in your Three-nerved Sandwort sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your plant, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LNHG Facebook page.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g quantity, habitat,    


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
LNHG Biological Records Manager

Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here are the previous April species:

Apr 2017 - Greater Stitchwort
Apr 2016 - Field Woodrush
Apr 2015 - Marsh Violet
Apr 2014 - Hedgehog
Apr 2013 - Peacock Butterfly
Apr 2012 - Green Tiger Beetle
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated.  Mouse over photos to see credits.