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Wood Stitchwort

Stellaria nemorum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Ditches, hedgerows, riversides, waterside, woodland.

White, 5 petals
White flowers, deeply notched. Looks more like a Chickweed than a Stitchwort. The sepals are pale-edged and slightly longer than the petals. 10 stamens. 3 styles.
The fruit is a greyish, 6-parted capsule.
Pale green, heart-shaped leaves. The lower leaves are long stalked. Not toothed. Perennial.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Stellaria nemorum, also known as Lesser Stitchwort, is a perennial herb in the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). It is native to Europe, it is found in woodlands, hedgerows and shady places. It has white flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer. The leaves are lance-shaped and the plant can grow to be about 15-50 cm tall. The plant is edible, it is used in salads or as a vegetable. It is also considered to be a medicinal plant, with traditional uses for treating skin conditions, minor wounds and as a diuretic. It is considered to be rare and protected species in some countries due to habitat destruction, so it is not recommended to collect it from the wild.


Wood Stitchwort, also known by its scientific name Stellaria nemorum, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Europe and western Asia. It is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which includes other well-known plants such as carnations, pinks, and campions. Wood Stitchwort is a charming plant that is widely admired for its delicate, star-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer.

Wood Stitchwort grows to a height of 20-50cm and produces a sprawling mat of thin, branched stems that emerge from a central base. The leaves are lance-shaped and grow up to 3cm in length, arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. The flowers are small, white, and star-shaped, measuring around 1cm in diameter. They appear in clusters at the end of the stems, blooming from May to July. The flowers have five petals, which are deeply notched, giving them a delicate, lacy appearance.

Wood Stitchwort is typically found in woodland habitats, where it thrives in moist, shady conditions. It prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and can tolerate acidic soils. It is commonly found in deciduous woodlands, on the edge of hedgerows, and in meadows. In the wild, Wood Stitchwort is an important food source for insects such as bees, hoverflies, and butterflies.

The medicinal properties of Wood Stitchwort have long been recognized in traditional herbal medicine. It was believed to be a remedy for a range of ailments, including digestive problems, skin conditions, and respiratory disorders. The plant contains saponins, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. In modern times, the plant is still used in some herbal remedies, although it is not widely used in mainstream medicine.

Wood Stitchwort is a popular garden plant, thanks to its delicate beauty and ease of cultivation. It is a useful addition to shaded borders, rock gardens, and woodland plantings. It is a relatively low-maintenance plant that requires little attention once established. It can be propagated by division in the spring, or by seed in the autumn.

Wood Stitchwort is a delightful plant that is widely appreciated for its delicate, star-shaped flowers and its ability to thrive in shady, woodland habitats. Its medicinal properties and ease of cultivation make it a valuable addition to any garden. With its delicate beauty and ecological importance, Wood Stitchwort is a plant that is well worth getting to know.

Wood Stitchwort has a rich history in folklore and mythology, and has been associated with a range of cultural beliefs and practices. In some parts of Europe, it was believed to have magical powers, and was used in spells and charms to ward off evil spirits and protect against witchcraft. It was also believed to have the power to soothe troubled spirits, and was often used in funeral wreaths and other mourning rituals.

The name "Stitchwort" is thought to have originated from the plant's historical use as a remedy for stitching pains, such as those associated with rheumatism and arthritis. The plant was applied to the affected area as a poultice, or taken internally as a tea.

Wood Stitchwort has also been used in culinary traditions, particularly in Scandinavian and Eastern European cuisines. The young leaves and shoots are edible and have a slightly bitter, nutty flavor. They can be added to salads, soups, or stews, or used as a garnish.

Despite its many uses and benefits, Wood Stitchwort is not without its challenges. Like many native plant species, it is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as invasive species that outcompete and displace native plants. It is important to protect and preserve Wood Stitchwort and other native plant species to maintain healthy ecosystems and ensure the survival of these valuable plants for future generations.

Wood Stitchwort is a plant with a rich history and a range of uses and benefits. Its delicate beauty, medicinal properties, and cultural significance make it a valuable and fascinating plant that is well worth exploring further. Whether in a garden or in the wild, Wood Stitchwort is a plant that has much to offer, and is a reminder of the beauty and importance of our natural world.

Wood Stitchwort is not only valued for its beauty and uses, but also for its role in supporting biodiversity. As a native plant species, it plays an important role in the local ecosystem, providing food and habitat for a variety of wildlife, including insects, birds, and small mammals.

Insects, in particular, rely on Wood Stitchwort as a food source, as the plant's nectar and pollen are an important source of nutrition for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These insects play a crucial role in the pollination of other plants, making Wood Stitchwort an important contributor to the health and diversity of the surrounding ecosystem.

In addition to supporting biodiversity, planting native plant species like Wood Stitchwort can also help to mitigate the effects of climate change. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, and require less water and fertilizer than non-native plants. This can help to reduce carbon emissions and preserve the health of local waterways.

Overall, Wood Stitchwort is a plant with many benefits, from its beauty and medicinal properties to its role in supporting biodiversity and mitigating climate change. By preserving and protecting native plant species like Wood Stitchwort, we can help to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for ourselves and for the planet.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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