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Recurved Sandwort

Minuartia recurva

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Mountains, rocky places.

White, 5 petals
Petals are equal in length to the sepals. Grey-edged sepals. The flowers are between 6 and 12mm in diameter.
The fruit is an ovoid capsule, up to 5mm in size.
A tufted perennial flower with curved, linear, 3-veined leaves.
Other Names:
Sickle-leaved Sandwort.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Minuartia recurva is a species of flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region, including the Balearic Islands, the Iberian Peninsula, and the western Mediterranean basin. It is a small herbaceous perennial plant with a prostrate or ascending habit. It has small, narrow leaves and produces small, white or pink flowers. This species is adapted to grow in rocky and stony habitats, such as talus slopes and crevices, and is considered to be a rare and threatened species.


Recurved Sandwort (Minuartia recurva) is a small, delicate plant that belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae. It is also known by several other common names, including Curved Sandwort, Bering Sandwort, and Alpine Stitchwort. This plant is native to arctic and alpine regions of North America and Eurasia.

Recurved Sandwort typically grows in rocky or gravelly areas, often in high elevations. It is a perennial plant that grows to a height of about 2 to 8 inches (5 to 20 cm). The leaves are narrow and pointed, and they grow in a rosette at the base of the stem. The flowers are small and white, with five petals that are deeply notched at the tips. The blooms appear from late spring to mid-summer.

One of the most distinctive features of Recurved Sandwort is its recurved petals. The petals curve backwards towards the stem, which gives the flower a unique and attractive appearance. The plant is also valued for its delicate and intricate appearance, which makes it a popular choice for rock gardens and alpine gardens.

Recurved Sandwort is an important plant in its native range, where it provides a source of food for various animals, including reindeer, caribou, and Arctic hares. The plant has also been used by humans for medicinal purposes, and some Native American tribes have used it to treat digestive problems and other ailments.

Despite its importance, Recurved Sandwort is not commonly cultivated, and it is not widely known outside of its native range. However, it is a beautiful and fascinating plant that is well worth seeking out if you are interested in alpine plants or if you are looking for an unusual addition to your garden.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal and ecological importance, Recurved Sandwort is also an interesting plant from a botanical perspective. It is a member of the genus Minuartia, which includes several other species of small, alpine plants. Like many alpine plants, Recurved Sandwort has adapted to harsh growing conditions by developing a low, cushion-like growth habit that helps protect it from wind and extreme temperatures.

Recurved Sandwort is a relatively easy plant to grow, and it prefers well-drained, sandy or rocky soil in full sun. It is also tolerant of drought and can thrive in low-nutrient soils. The plant is hardy to USDA zones 4-7 and can be propagated from seed or by division.

While Recurved Sandwort is not as well-known as some other alpine plants, it is a fascinating and beautiful plant that is well worth discovering. Its delicate flowers and unusual recurved petals make it a standout addition to any alpine or rock garden. If you are looking for an unusual and intriguing plant to add to your garden, consider trying Recurved Sandwort.

Recurved Sandwort is also known for its ability to form a dense mat of foliage, which makes it a useful plant for stabilizing slopes or preventing soil erosion. The plant's shallow roots can help hold soil in place, making it a valuable addition to areas prone to erosion.

In terms of cultivation, Recurved Sandwort is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It prefers well-draining soil and regular watering, but it can tolerate dry conditions and low-nutrient soils. The plant benefits from occasional fertilization with a low-nitrogen fertilizer, but too much fertilizer can cause it to grow too quickly and become more prone to disease.

In its native range, Recurved Sandwort is also known for its medicinal properties. Some Native American tribes have used the plant to treat digestive problems, while others have used it as a poultice for wounds or insect bites. While the plant has not been extensively studied for its medicinal properties, it is believed to contain compounds that may have anti-inflammatory or anti-microbial effects.

Overall, Recurved Sandwort is a fascinating and beautiful plant that is well-suited to rock gardens, alpine gardens, and other low-nutrient, well-draining soils. Whether you are looking to add a unique plant to your garden or are interested in exploring the fascinating world of alpine plants, Recurved Sandwort is a plant worth considering.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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