Sandspurry / Red Sandspurry

Photo of a Sandspurry plant with a U.S. penny for scale purposesSometimes two words: Sand Spurry

Family: CARYOPHYLLACEAE (The Pink or Carnation Family)

Genus: Spergularia | Species: rubra

Description: The leaves of this annual or short-lived perennial weed are so narrow and flat that they resemble fir needles, and the plant even feels like a juniper of some kind (a bit scratchy or rough).  It grows in thick tufts very low to the ground and spreads outward radially (i.e. from a central point), below which the roots will be found.  The tiny flowers (1/6″ to 1/4″ wide) have 5 petals and are a light pink to purple in color (less purple towards the flower center, which has 10 yellow stamens, and whiter on underside of petals). Common chickweed (Stellaria media) is also in this family. [annual or sometimes a short-lived perennial]

Habitat: Dry, sandy places;

In Bloom: mid-May (in Maine)

Closer view of a portion of a sandspurry plant with two opened flowers on it plus a U.S. penny for scale purposes