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Greater Stitchwort

Stellaria hollostea

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, hedgerows, meadows, parks, roadsides, scrub, wasteland, woodland.

White, 5 petals
5 white deeply notched petals, green bracts. The largest flowering Stitchwort in the UK with flowers up to 3cm across.
Pale green, stalked, cylindrical, pointed capsule. 6 valves.
Narrow, linear but pointed, greyish leaves. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs. They are hairless and stalkless. Not toothed.
Other Names:
Adder's Meat, Daddy's Shirt Buttons, Fairy Flax, Poor Man's Buttonhole, Popguns, Satin Flower, Snapdragon, Star-of-Bethlehem, Wedding Cakes.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Stellaria holostea, also known as greater stitchwort, is a perennial herb in the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). It is native to Europe and Asia and can be found in woodlands, meadows, and along roadsides. 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 60 cm tall. The plant is edible and is sometimes used in salads or as a vegetable. It is also considered to be a medicinal plant, with traditional uses for treating wounds, skin conditions and as a diuretic.


Greater Stitchwort, scientifically known as Stellaria holostea, is a beautiful wildflower that is found throughout much of Europe and parts of Asia. With its delicate white flowers and slender stems, this plant is a favorite among gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.

Stitchwort is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which includes other popular garden plants like carnations and pinks. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, meaning it dies back to the ground each year and re-emerges in the spring. It typically grows to a height of around 30-60cm and prefers to grow in shaded areas such as hedgerows, woodlands, and along the banks of rivers and streams.

One of the most striking features of the Greater Stitchwort is its flowers. They are pure white and have five deeply notched petals, which give them the appearance of being ten separate petals. The flowers appear in early spring, typically from April to June, and are a valuable source of nectar for early pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

The leaves of the Greater Stitchwort are narrow and lance-shaped, and grow in opposite pairs along the stem. They are a bright green color and can grow up to 8cm long. The plant's stem is slender and flexible, allowing it to sway gently in the breeze.

In addition to its beauty, the Greater Stitchwort has a rich history of medicinal uses. Its leaves were once used to treat wounds and burns, and its juice was believed to be a remedy for sore throats and coughs. The plant was also used in traditional herbal medicine to treat digestive problems, and as a mild sedative.

Today, the Greater Stitchwort is primarily valued for its ornamental qualities. It is an easy plant to grow and requires little maintenance, making it a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of elegance to their borders. It can be grown from seed or propagated by division, and prefers moist, well-drained soil.

The Greater Stitchwort is a lovely plant with a rich history and a bright future. Whether growing in the wild or in a carefully tended garden, it is sure to bring joy and beauty to those who encounter it.

In addition to its medicinal and ornamental uses, the Greater Stitchwort has also been used in folklore and mythology. In Celtic mythology, it was believed that the flower had magical properties and was associated with the fairy realm. It was also believed to be a symbol of innocence and purity, and was often used in traditional wedding bouquets.

The name "Stitchwort" comes from the plant's traditional use as a remedy for stitch-like pains in the side, which were thought to be caused by the devil. According to legend, the devil would prick people with a needle, causing the stitch, and the Stitchwort was believed to be a powerful antidote to his mischief.

Today, the Greater Stitchwort is also valued for its ecological importance. Its early flowering period makes it an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, and its dense foliage provides shelter and nesting sites for a variety of wildlife. The plant is also an indicator of ancient woodland, as it is often found growing in undisturbed, wooded areas.

Despite its many benefits, the Greater Stitchwort is facing some threats in the wild. Its habitat is being destroyed by development and agricultural intensification, and it is also vulnerable to overgrazing by livestock. In some areas, it is also threatened by the spread of invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect the Greater Stitchwort and other wildflowers like it. In the UK, the plant is listed as a priority species for conservation, and efforts are being made to protect and restore its natural habitat. Gardeners can also do their part by planting native wildflowers in their gardens, which can provide valuable habitat and food sources for pollinators.

The Greater Stitchwort is a fascinating and beautiful plant with a rich history and many valuable uses. Whether admired in the wild or cultivated in a garden, it is a valuable part of our natural heritage and a symbol of the important role that plants play in our lives.

The Greater Stitchwort has also been used for culinary purposes in some cultures. The plant has a slightly bitter flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Its leaves and stems can be added to salads, and its flowers can be used to decorate cakes and desserts.

The Greater Stitchwort is also a popular subject in art and literature. It has been depicted in paintings by famous artists such as J.M.W. Turner and Claude Monet, and has been featured in the works of writers such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The plant's delicate beauty has also inspired many photographers and nature enthusiasts, who seek to capture its intricate details and soft, ethereal quality. Its white flowers and slender stems make it a particularly photogenic subject, and it can often be seen in the pages of nature magazines and online photo galleries.

The Greater Stitchwort is a fascinating and multi-faceted plant, with a rich history, many uses, and an enduring beauty that continues to captivate and inspire us. Whether admired for its medicinal properties, its ornamental qualities, or its ecological importance, it is a valuable part of our natural world and a reminder of the many wonders that surround us.

The Greater Stitchwort is also a popular plant in traditional herbal medicine. Its leaves and flowers have been used to make infusions and tinctures, which are believed to have a range of medicinal properties. The plant is said to have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, and has been used to treat conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis, and urinary tract infections.

Studies have also found that the Greater Stitchwort contains compounds that have antifungal and antibacterial properties, which could make it a valuable natural remedy for a variety of infections.

In addition to its medicinal uses, the Greater Stitchwort has also been used in traditional dyeing. Its leaves and stems can be used to produce a yellow-green dye, which was used to color wool and other fabrics.

The plant's association with spring and rebirth has also made it a popular symbol in pagan and neopagan traditions. It is often used in rituals and celebrations to honor the changing of the seasons and the cycles of nature.

In modern times, the Greater Stitchwort has also been the subject of scientific research. Its genetic makeup and reproductive biology have been studied in detail, and it has been used as a model organism in several research projects.

The Greater Stitchwort is a fascinating and versatile plant, with a long history of human use and a wide range of potential applications. Whether admired for its beauty, valued for its medicinal properties, or studied for its genetic makeup, it is a valuable part of our natural world and a symbol of the many ways in which plants can enrich our lives.

The Greater Stitchwort is a member of the Stellaria genus, which is part of the Caryophyllaceae family. This family includes many other familiar plants, such as carnations, campions, and pinks. The genus Stellaria contains over 90 species, many of which are native to Europe and Asia.

The Greater Stitchwort is a perennial plant, which means that it lives for more than two years. It grows to a height of around 50 cm, with a slender stem and narrow, pointed leaves. The plant's most distinctive feature is its white, star-shaped flowers, which appear in spring and early summer.

The flowers of the Greater Stitchwort have five petals, which are deeply divided to create a delicate, lacy effect. They have a sweet, pleasant scent and are popular with bees and other pollinators.

The Greater Stitchwort is found throughout much of Europe and western Asia, where it grows in a variety of habitats, including woodland edges, hedgerows, and meadows. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate both sun and shade.

The plant is easy to grow and is a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of natural beauty to their outdoor spaces. It can be grown from seed or propagated by division, and is well-suited to rock gardens, woodland borders, and other naturalistic settings.

In the garden, the Greater Stitchwort is often grown alongside other wildflowers, such as bluebells, primroses, and cowslips, to create a natural, cottage-garden feel. Its delicate, white flowers make a beautiful contrast against the bright colors of other spring flowers, and its slender stems and narrow leaves provide a subtle, graceful backdrop.

Overall, the Greater Stitchwort is a versatile and attractive plant, with many uses and applications both in the natural world and in human culture. Its delicate beauty and many valuable qualities make it a valuable part of our natural heritage and a symbol of the many wonders that nature has to offer.


Greater Stitchwort filmed in several locations in April 2023.


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