There are various Pearlworts
Sagina species are small and unassuming
I’ve only identified one so far but hope to add more soon, now I’ve discovered them! These plants are in the Campion family.
Procumbent Pearlwort – Sagina procumbens
I had been ignoring this plant on my patio for sometime as I assumed it was some kind of moss (which I’m happy to admit are currently beyond me). It was growing in a mat about 10cm across and about 3cm high, having rooted in the gap between two paving slabs. Only when I got in closer did I realise that it was a flowering plant and still didn’t have a clue so put it through Google lens which suggested some sort of Pearlwort.
The plant has a central rosette from which stems grow horizontally, in order to root again. Each long narrow leaf has a tiny bristle at the end, which you can just see in these pics. Flowers have 4 sepals no petals (easiest to see in the pic above – bottom right) and about 5mm across. It was flowering when I noticed it in June. The location I found it suggests that it is happy in dry, trampled locations in full sun. It’s apparently very common.
Here are some Pearlwort species I disregarded for identification:
- Sagina saginoides – Alpine Pearlwort – larger flowers, found in Scotland
- S. apetala – Annual Pearlwort – no central rosette, taller at 10cm
- S. maritima – Sea Pearlwort – found in saline areas only, plus no bristle on leaves
- Sagina nodosa – Knotted Pearlwort – white flowers 1cm across on 15cm stems
- S. subulata – Heath Pearlwort or Irish Moss – white flowers 5mm across on 5cm stems
The last one in the list is apparently used as a decorative grass substitute.