Corn spurry

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. January 2018.

Scientific name: Spergula arvensis L.

Common name(s): corn spurry, tickwort, starwort, devil’s-guts, sandweed, pickpurse, yarr, pine-cheat, poverty-weed, cow-quake

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– annual

-leaves are

  • simple
  • opposite
  • whorled

-hermaphroditic species

-pollinated by flies


-disturbed habitats



-poor sandy soils

-part sun-full sun

Natural History:

-introduced to Michigan in 1888

-seeds contain saponins

  • relatively harmless toxin
  • not to be eaten in large quantities



Go Botany. “Spergula Arvensis L.” Spergula Arvensis (Corn Spurry): Go Botany, 2021,

Plants For a Future. “Spergula Arvensis – L.” Spergula Arvensis Corn Spurrey PFAF Plant Database, 2020,