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Lesser Stitchwort

Stellaria graminea

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, hedgerows, lawns, meadows, roadsides, scrub, woodland.

White, 5 petals
5 white deeply notched petals. A small-flowered Stitchwort with flowers up to 12mm across.
Long, linear capsule. 6-lobed.
Opposite, linear, stalkless leaves.
Other Names:
Common Starwort, Grass-leaf Starwort, Grass-leaved Stitchwort, Grass-like Starwort, Grassy Starwort, Lesser Starwort, Little Starwort, Small Starwort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Stellaria graminea, also known as common chickweed, is an annual herb in the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). It is native to Europe and Asia, but has become widely naturalized in other parts of the world, including North America. It is commonly found in gardens, lawns, and along roadsides. It has small white flowers that bloom throughout the growing season. The leaves are oval-shaped and the plant can grow to be about 15-30 cm tall. The plant is edible, it is used as a leaf vegetable, mostly used raw in salads. It is also considered to be a medicinal plant, with traditional uses for treating skin conditions, minor wounds, and as a diuretic.


Lesser Stitchwort, also known as Stellaria graminea, is a small, delicate plant that belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family. This plant is native to Europe, but it can also be found in some parts of North America and Asia. It is a common sight in meadows, grasslands, and on the sides of country roads during spring and summer.

The plant grows up to 30cm tall and has slender stems, which are usually green or red in colour. Its leaves are narrow and pointed, with a bright green hue. They grow in pairs along the stem and are quite small, usually measuring only a few millimeters in length.

The most distinctive feature of the Lesser Stitchwort is its dainty, star-shaped flowers. They bloom from May to September and are usually white or pink in colour. Each flower is composed of five petals, which are deeply divided, giving them the appearance of ten petals. The flowers grow in clusters at the tips of the stems and are held above the foliage, making them highly visible and attractive to pollinators.

Despite its diminutive size, the Lesser Stitchwort is an important plant in the ecosystem. It provides food and shelter for a range of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths, which feed on its nectar and pollen. It is also an important source of food for small mammals such as field mice and voles.

The Lesser Stitchwort has been used in traditional medicine for its healing properties. It was believed to have antiseptic properties and was used to treat wounds and digestive disorders. It was also used as a diuretic and a remedy for respiratory problems.

In modern times, the Lesser Stitchwort has become a popular ornamental plant, and it is often grown in gardens and used in floral arrangements. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of soil types and growing conditions, making it a popular choice for low-maintenance landscaping.

The Lesser Stitchwort is a small but charming plant that is widely distributed and plays an important role in the ecosystem. Its delicate flowers and slender stems make it a popular choice for gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike. Whether you encounter it in a wildflower meadow or a garden bed, this unassuming plant is sure to brighten up your day with its simple beauty.

While the Lesser Stitchwort is generally not considered an invasive plant, it can spread rapidly in certain environments. It is able to thrive in both wet and dry soils and can tolerate partial shade, making it a versatile plant. However, it can be a problem in gardens and lawns where it is not desired, as it can form dense mats that compete with other plants for resources.

One interesting aspect of the Lesser Stitchwort is its cultural significance. In the language of flowers, the plant is often associated with innocence and purity. It has been used in wedding bouquets and other floral arrangements to symbolize these qualities. In folklore, the plant was said to have magical powers and was associated with fairies and other supernatural beings.

Despite its cultural significance and ecological importance, the Lesser Stitchwort is facing threats from habitat loss and other environmental factors. As urbanization and agricultural practices continue to encroach on natural habitats, this delicate plant is at risk of disappearing from many areas. Conservation efforts are needed to protect the species and ensure its survival in the wild.

The Lesser Stitchwort is a fascinating and valuable plant that is often overlooked. Its delicate beauty and ecological importance make it a plant worth knowing and protecting. Whether you encounter it in the wild or in your own garden, take a moment to appreciate this unassuming but remarkable plant.

The Lesser Stitchwort has also been used for culinary purposes in some parts of the world. Its leaves have a slightly bitter, peppery taste and can be used in salads or as a garnish. In some European countries, the plant has been used to make a traditional dish known as "stitchwort soup," which is a creamy soup made with the leaves and stems of the plant.

The plant has also been used in traditional dyeing processes. Its leaves and stems contain a yellow-green pigment that can be used to dye fabrics and yarns. In some parts of Europe, the plant was used to dye the wool that was used to make traditional clothing and textiles.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, the Lesser Stitchwort has also been studied for its medicinal properties. Studies have shown that the plant contains compounds that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. It has also been found to have potential as a treatment for certain types of cancer.

While more research is needed to fully understand the plant's potential as a medicinal herb, its traditional use in folk medicine suggests that it may have other therapeutic benefits. As interest in natural remedies and traditional healing practices continues to grow, the Lesser Stitchwort may become an increasingly important plant for both ecological and medicinal purposes.

The Lesser Stitchwort is a fascinating and versatile plant that has played an important role in human culture and natural ecosystems for centuries. Its delicate beauty, culinary uses, and potential medicinal properties make it a plant worth exploring and protecting for future generations.

The Lesser Stitchwort has also been used in traditional herbal remedies for digestive issues, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The plant's anti-inflammatory properties have been used to alleviate sore throats and other inflammatory conditions.

In addition, the Lesser Stitchwort has been used in traditional folk medicine as a diuretic and to treat urinary tract infections. The plant's diuretic properties may help to increase urine flow and flush out toxins from the body, which can aid in the treatment of certain conditions.

Furthermore, the Lesser Stitchwort has been used in traditional skincare remedies due to its astringent properties. The plant's leaves and stems can be used as a natural toner to tighten and firm the skin. In some cultures, the plant has been used to treat acne and other skin conditions.

The Lesser Stitchwort is a versatile plant with a long history of use in human culture and traditional medicine. As research into its medicinal and therapeutic properties continues, the plant may hold even greater potential for treating a variety of health conditions. Additionally, its ecological importance makes it an important species to protect and conserve for future generations to enjoy.

One interesting aspect of the Lesser Stitchwort is its classification within the Stellaria genus. The name "Stellaria" comes from the Latin word "stella," which means "star," referring to the star-like shape of the plant's flowers. The genus contains several other species of small, herbaceous plants with star-shaped flowers, including the Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) and the Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea).

Another interesting fact about the Lesser Stitchwort is its ability to self-pollinate. The plant's flowers are hermaphroditic, meaning they contain both male and female reproductive structures. This allows the plant to produce seeds without the need for cross-pollination by insects or other animals. However, cross-pollination can still occur if the plant is visited by pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths.

The Lesser Stitchwort is also an important source of food for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant's nectar and pollen provide a valuable source of nutrition for these pollinators, which are critical for the reproduction of many plant species.

In conclusion, the Lesser Stitchwort is a fascinating plant with a wide range of ecological, cultural, and medicinal significance. Its delicate beauty, culinary uses, and potential therapeutic properties make it a valuable plant for human use, while its role in supporting pollinators and other wildlife highlights its ecological importance. Protecting and conserving this plant and its habitats is essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and preserving the cultural and medicinal traditions associated with the Lesser Stitchwort.


Lesser Stitchwort filmed in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk on the 29th June 2022.


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