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Coral Necklace

Illecebrum verticillatum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Cliffs, ditches, floodplains, gardens, grassland, heathland, rocky places, sea cliffs, seaside, wetland.

White, 5 petals
The tiny flowers appear in whorls and are borne in the leaf axils. The sepals and petals are both white. The sepals are much smaller than the petals.
The fruit is a capsule.
A hairless, trailing annual flower with blunt-tipped, oval leaves. The leaves appear together in pairs along the stems.
Other Names:
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Illecebrum verticillatum, also known as Illecebrum, is a species of flowering plant that belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family. It is a low-growing, evergreen perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. The plant has small, white or pink flowers that bloom in the summer and fall, and forms a dense mat of foliage. It is found growing in rocky or sandy soil, often on coastal cliffs, and is tolerant of salt spray. The plant has been used in traditional medicine as a treatment for various ailments, including skin conditions, and as a diuretic. Illecebrum is also used as an ornamental plant, in rock gardens or as ground cover.


Coral Necklace, scientifically known as Illecebrum verticillatum, is a delicate and beautiful plant that belongs to the family of Aizoaceae. It is a low-growing, trailing plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. The Coral Necklace plant is known for its eye-catching appearance, with its tiny leaves arranged in whorls around a delicate stem, giving the plant a coral-like appearance.

The Coral Necklace plant is an annual plant that grows up to 10-30 cm in height, with a spread of 20-30 cm. It thrives in dry, sandy soil and is commonly found in dry, rocky places, such as on hillsides, in meadows, and on roadsides. The plant blooms from June to August, producing tiny, white or pink flowers that are no more than 2-3 mm in size. The flowers are clustered at the tips of the stems, giving the plant a delicate and airy appearance.

One of the most notable features of the Coral Necklace plant is its adaptability to harsh environments. It can withstand extreme temperatures and drought, making it a perfect plant for those living in areas with harsh climates. Additionally, the plant's hardiness and low-maintenance nature make it an ideal choice for those who are new to gardening.

The Coral Necklace plant has a long history of medicinal use. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments, including diarrhea, coughs, and even toothaches. The plant contains several beneficial compounds, including flavonoids, tannins, and saponins, which are believed to be responsible for its therapeutic properties.

In addition to its medicinal properties, the Coral Necklace plant has also been used for decorative purposes. Its beautiful coral-like appearance makes it a popular choice for hanging baskets and rock gardens. The plant can also be grown as a ground cover, providing an attractive carpet of greenery that is easy to maintain.

The Coral Necklace plant is relatively easy to grow and care for. It prefers a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant needs full sun to partial shade and can tolerate dry conditions. It is important to avoid overwatering, as the plant is susceptible to root rot.

Propagation of the Coral Necklace plant can be done through seeds or stem cuttings. Seeds can be sown directly into the soil in the spring or started indoors and transplanted outside once the weather warms up. Stem cuttings can be taken in the spring and rooted in a well-draining soil mix.

The Coral Necklace plant is not only attractive to gardeners but also to pollinators. The tiny flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects, which help to pollinate nearby plants.

While the Coral Necklace plant is generally not susceptible to pests or diseases, it can be affected by spider mites and mealybugs. These pests can be controlled through regular pruning and using a mild insecticidal soap.

In some regions, the Coral Necklace plant is considered an invasive species. It is important to check with local authorities before planting it in your garden to ensure it is not a threat to local ecosystems.

In traditional medicine, the Coral Necklace plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments. For example, it has been used to treat digestive problems such as diarrhea and dysentery. It has also been used to treat respiratory conditions such as coughs and asthma. Additionally, the plant has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and wounds.

Research has shown that the Coral Necklace plant contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For example, the flavonoids and tannins found in the plant have been shown to have antioxidant properties that can help protect cells from oxidative damage. Additionally, the plant contains saponins, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

While more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of the Coral Necklace plant, the plant's traditional uses suggest that it may have therapeutic properties that could be useful for a variety of health conditions.

In addition to its medicinal and decorative uses, the Coral Necklace plant also has ecological importance. It provides habitat and food for a variety of insects and other small animals, and its low-growing nature helps to prevent soil erosion.

The Coral Necklace plant has cultural significance as well. In traditional Japanese culture, the plant is known as "koke no tama," which translates to "moss ball." This name is due to the plant's unique growth habit, where the stems can grow into small, ball-like shapes. In Japanese culture, the plant is often used in bonsai arrangements and other ornamental displays.

In Chinese culture, the Coral Necklace plant is known as "zhen zhu cai," which translates to "pearl vegetable." This name is due to the plant's delicate appearance and the white, pearl-like flowers that it produces. In traditional Chinese medicine, the plant is used to treat a variety of conditions, including coughs, inflammation, and diarrhea.

The Coral Necklace plant has also been used in traditional Native American medicine. The plant was used to treat a variety of conditions, including stomach problems, coughs, and skin conditions. Additionally, the plant was used in ceremonies and rituals as a symbol of strength and endurance.

In modern times, the Coral Necklace plant is still used in traditional medicine and is also cultivated for ornamental purposes. Its unique appearance and adaptability make it a popular choice for gardeners and horticulturists around the world.

Overall, the Coral Necklace plant is a fascinating and culturally significant plant that has a rich history and a promising future. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its ornamental qualities, or its cultural significance, this plant is definitely worth exploring further.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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