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Fringed Rupturewort

Herniaria ciliolata

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, heathland, rocky places, sea cliffs, seaside.

Green, 5 petals
Tiny yellowish-green flowers.
The fruit is an achene.
A perennial evergreen flower with woody stems. The leaves are stalkless, oval and in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves are fringed with hairs.
Other Names:
Green Carpet Rupturewort, Green Carpetweed, Rupture-wort, Small-leaved Green Rupturewort, Weeping Rupturewort.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Herniaria ciliolata, also known as "green carpetweed" or "small-leaved green rupturewort," is a low-growing, mat-forming perennial plant that is native to Europe. It has small, green, glossy leaves that are arranged in a rosette pattern, and it produces small, inconspicuous flowers in the summer. It's a hardy plant that is tolerant to drought, heat, poor soil and salt wind. It can be used as a groundcover, for erosion control, or in rock gardens.

Herniaria ciliolata is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for, it can be propagated by seed or by division. It prefers well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. It's also a good plant for rock gardens and erosion control. It's also used as a lawn substitute in areas where grass cannot grow.


Fringed Rupturewort, or Herniaria ciliolata, is a small perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae and is a close relative of other popular garden plants such as carnations and pinks. While not as well-known as these other flowers, Fringed Rupturewort has several unique features that make it an interesting and useful addition to any garden.

One of the most distinctive features of Fringed Rupturewort is its small size. The plant typically grows to a height of only 2-3 inches, making it a perfect ground cover for rock gardens or other areas where space is limited. Despite its small stature, Fringed Rupturewort is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, including full sun or partial shade and dry or moist soil.

Another unique feature of Fringed Rupturewort is its delicate fringed flowers. The small greenish-yellow flowers appear in late spring or early summer and are surrounded by fringed, hairy bracts that give the plant its name. The flowers are not particularly showy, but they add a subtle beauty to the plant and can be a welcome sight in a garden that is otherwise lacking in color.

Fringed Rupturewort is also known for its medicinal properties. The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine, where it is believed to have diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. It is often used to treat kidney and bladder problems, as well as digestive issues and skin conditions. While there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims, Fringed Rupturewort continues to be used in herbal medicine today.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Fringed Rupturewort has several other uses. The plant is often used as a natural insect repellent and can be crushed and rubbed on the skin to keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay. It is also sometimes used in landscaping as a ground cover or to help stabilize slopes or other areas that are prone to erosion.

In terms of growing and caring for Fringed Rupturewort, the plant is generally low maintenance and easy to grow. It prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate dry conditions, but it also benefits from occasional watering during prolonged dry spells. It is best to plant Fringed Rupturewort in the spring or fall, and the plant can be propagated by division or from seed.

Fringed Rupturewort can also be used in culinary applications. In some parts of the Mediterranean, the plant is used as a condiment and added to dishes as a flavoring agent. The leaves can be dried and crushed to make a spice that is similar in taste to oregano.

One thing to keep in mind when growing Fringed Rupturewort is that it can be invasive in some areas. While it is not typically considered a noxious weed, it can spread rapidly in some environments and may require regular pruning or containment to keep it from taking over other plants.

In addition to its other uses, Fringed Rupturewort is also sometimes used as a natural dye. The plant contains tannins that can be used to dye fabrics or other materials a pale yellow or green color. This use of Fringed Rupturewort dates back to ancient times, and it is still occasionally used today in traditional textile arts.

Fringed Rupturewort is also attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The small flowers may not be showy, but they provide a valuable source of nectar for these important insects. This makes Fringed Rupturewort a great choice for gardeners who are interested in supporting pollinators and other beneficial insects.

Finally, it is worth noting that Fringed Rupturewort has several other common names, including Green Carpet Rupturewort and Weeping Rupturewort. These names all refer to the plant's low-growing habit and delicate appearance. Whatever you choose to call it, Fringed Rupturewort is a unique and interesting plant that is sure to capture the attention of any gardener or herbalist.

Fringed Rupturewort has a long history of use in traditional medicine in many parts of the world. The plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and digestive problems. It is also used externally to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rashes.

One of the active compounds in Fringed Rupturewort is herniarin, which is a flavonoid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Other compounds found in the plant include triterpenoids, saponins, and alkaloids, which are thought to contribute to its medicinal effects.

While there is limited scientific research on the medicinal properties of Fringed Rupturewort, many herbalists and traditional healers continue to use the plant to this day. Some studies have suggested that it may have diuretic and anti-inflammatory effects, and it has also been shown to have antioxidant activity.

As with any herbal remedy, it is important to use Fringed Rupturewort with caution and under the guidance of a trained healthcare provider. While the plant is generally considered safe, it may interact with certain medications or cause allergic reactions in some people.

Overall, Fringed Rupturewort is a fascinating and versatile plant that has a long history of use in traditional medicine and other applications. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its culinary uses, or its value as a ground cover or insect repellent, Fringed Rupturewort is definitely a plant worth exploring.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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