Roadside Sand-spurry

Roadside Sand-spurry
Roadside Sand-spurry. Spergularia rubra.
Caryophyllaceae, the pink family.

Plant: Low, mat-forming or prostrate plant with branching stems generally less than about 12" long, short, linear leaves, and small pink flowers; the whole plant is covered with short hairs. Annual or short-lived perennial.
Flowers: Small, pink, star-shaped, about 1/4" across, with five petals, five sepals longer than the petals and usually ten yellow anthers. Flowers in small, loose clusters (cymes) of 5-10 with only a few open at once.
Leaves: Opposite, linear, to thread-like (filiform), about 1" long, and fairly densely distributed.
Fruit: A dry husk.
Blooming: Late May-October
Habitat: Sandy, open areas; sterile soils.

Comments: Introduced from Europe, this member of the pink family sometimes forms a dense cover in sterile, sandy soil where little else will grow.

Where to find it: The biggest patch is under the highway bridge at the east end of the park. There is another patch near the east boundary at the south end of the slough that borders the ball field.