COMMON WHITLOW GRASS
DESCRIPTION: Height: Up to 20cm. A dainty little annual and a sign that spring is well under way. Arising from a basal rosette of lance-shaped leaves are leafless stems that hold aloft racemes of small white-petalled flowers that measure 3-6mm across. Each petal is deeply notched and can be tinged with red. Four short green sepals surround the four white petals. The basal leaves are toothed and covered in sparse, often bifurcated, hairs. The ovary develops into a flattened oval seed pod, which splits open along its seam to reveal a silvery inner lining and two rows of seeds. DISTRIBUTION: Common throughout most of Britain becoming less so in the South-West. HABITAT: Rough pathways, stony areas, old walls and sandy ground. FLOWERING TIME: March to June. EXTRA NOTES: Farmers used to use the flowering of Whitlow Grass as a sign to sow spring Barley. The plant was used to treat Whitlow infections.
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