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Procumbent Pearlwort

Sagina procumbens

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Ditches, fields, gardens, grassland, lawns, meadows, mountains, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, walls, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

Green, 4 petals
White or pale green flowers, usually 4 petals but sometimes none, and rarely 5. Sepals much shorter than petals. The minute flowers are borne on long stalks.
Roundish, dull yellow, 4-valved capsule.
Mat-forming and resembles moss. The stalkless leaves are opposite along the stems and are thread-like. Hairless and spreads outwards from the centre of the basal rosette of leaves. Roots at the leaf nodes. The untoothed leaves are tipped with short bristle.
Other Names:
Arctic Pearlwort, Beads, Birdeye Pearlwort, Corsican Sandwort, Creeping Pearlwort, Irish Moss, Matted Pearlwort, Scottish Moss.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Sagina procumbens, also known as creeping pearlwort or Irish moss, is a low-growing perennial herb in the family Caryophyllaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and typically grows in damp, shady areas such as woodlands, meadows, and along streams and rivers. The plant has small, green leaves and tiny white flowers that bloom in the summer. The root of the plant is not edible and it is not considered to be toxic. It is mainly used as a ground cover or in rock gardens. It is known for its ability to survive in poor soils and can be useful for stabilizing soil in erosion-prone areas. It is also sometimes used in traditional medicine to treat certain ailments and in horticulture as a ground cover.


Procumbent Pearlwort, Sagina procumbens, is a small and delicate plant that belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family. It is also known as Irish moss, Scottish moss, or Corsican sandwort. This plant is native to Europe, but it can now be found all over the world in temperate and alpine regions.

The Procumbent Pearlwort is a low-growing plant that forms a dense, mat-like ground cover. It grows to a height of only a few centimeters, with its leaves measuring between 1-3mm long. The leaves are bright green, narrow, and pointed, and they form a rosette at the base of the stem. The stems are thin and fragile, and they bear small white or pink flowers in the summer months.

One of the most notable features of the Procumbent Pearlwort is its ability to tolerate extreme environmental conditions. This plant can survive in areas where there is little soil, such as rock crevices, dry stony ground, and even on walls. It is also able to withstand extreme temperatures, including freezing conditions and high temperatures. The Procumbent Pearlwort has a shallow root system that enables it to absorb moisture from the surrounding environment, which makes it an excellent plant for water conservation in dry areas.

The Procumbent Pearlwort is a popular plant in gardens and landscaping due to its low maintenance requirements and attractive appearance. It is often used as a ground cover in rock gardens, around stepping stones, and in between pavers. The plant also works well in container gardens, hanging baskets, and as a filler in floral arrangements.

Aside from its aesthetic appeal, the Procumbent Pearlwort has a few other uses. It has been used as a herbal remedy for a range of ailments, including respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and skin conditions. The plant contains saponins, which have been shown to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

The Procumbent Pearlwort is not only a versatile plant in terms of its growth conditions, but it is also a beneficial plant for the environment. Its shallow root system helps prevent soil erosion, making it an excellent plant for areas that are prone to erosion. The plant is also a favorite food source for grazing animals such as sheep and rabbits.

One interesting aspect of the Procumbent Pearlwort is its role in folklore and traditional culture. In Ireland, it is believed that the plant brings good luck and is a symbol of prosperity. It is also used in traditional Irish weddings as a symbol of the couple's love and commitment to one another.

Furthermore, the Procumbent Pearlwort has also been used in traditional dyeing practices. The plant produces a yellow dye that was used by the Celts to color their clothing.

In terms of cultivation, the Procumbent Pearlwort is an easy plant to grow. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is tolerant of a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. The plant can be propagated by seeds, which should be sown in the spring or early fall.

In conclusion, the Procumbent Pearlwort is a small plant that packs a punch in terms of its resilience and versatility. Its ability to thrive in extreme conditions, medicinal properties, and beneficial environmental qualities make it a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. Furthermore, its cultural and traditional significance adds a layer of intrigue to this delightful little plant.

Facts about Procumbent Pearlwort

Sagina procumbens is a small, mat-forming plant that is also known as pearlwort or procumbent pearlwort. Here are 30 facts about Sagina procumbens:

  1. Sagina procumbens is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which includes around 2,000 species of herbaceous plants.

  2. The plant is native to Europe, Asia, and North America.

  3. Sagina procumbens is a low-growing perennial plant that forms a dense, spreading mat of bright green foliage.

  4. The plant is typically between 2-10 cm tall.

  5. The leaves of Sagina procumbens are small, narrow, and pointed, and they are arranged in pairs along the stem.

  6. The plant produces small, white flowers that are only around 3-4 mm in diameter.

  7. The flowers of Sagina procumbens are arranged in clusters on thin, wiry stems.

  8. The flowers bloom from May to September.

  9. The plant is often used as a ground cover in gardens and landscaping.

  10. Sagina procumbens is tolerant of shade and can grow in a range of soil types, from sand to loam.

  11. The plant prefers moist, well-drained soil.

  12. Sagina procumbens is hardy to USDA zones 4-8.

  13. The plant is also known by several other common names, including creeping pearlwort, procumbent pearlwort, and Irish moss.

  14. Sagina procumbens is a popular plant in rock gardens and alpine gardens.

  15. The plant is also used as a lawn alternative in some areas.

  16. Sagina procumbens is an evergreen plant, which means that it retains its leaves year-round.

  17. The plant can be propagated by division, cuttings, or seed.

  18. Sagina procumbens is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care once established.

  19. The plant is not typically affected by pests or diseases.

  20. Sagina procumbens is sometimes used in traditional medicine to treat conditions such as diarrhea and inflammation.

  21. The plant has a bitter taste and a slightly astringent flavor.

  22. Sagina procumbens is sometimes used as a culinary herb in some regions.

  23. The plant has a long history of use in folklore and herbal medicine.

  24. Sagina procumbens has been used as a medicinal plant since ancient times.

  25. The plant was once used as a substitute for hops in beer-making.

  26. Sagina procumbens has also been used to make a green dye.

  27. The plant is sometimes used in floral arrangements and wreaths.

  28. Sagina procumbens is a useful plant for erosion control on slopes and hillsides.

  29. The plant can help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion in areas that are prone to landslides.

  30. Sagina procumbens is a versatile and attractive plant that is useful in a variety of garden settings.


Procumbent Pearlwort filmed at Coppull in Lancashire on the 19th May and 7th June 2023.


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Attribution 4.0 license.

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