Longleaf Starwort

Longleaf Starwort
Longleaf Starwort. Stellaria longifolia.
Caryophyllaceae, the pink family.

Plant: Weak-stemmed, sprawling to upright plant, 6"-18", with narrow leaves, and starlike, white flowers with five petals so deeply lobed as to appear as ten. Perennial.
Flowers: Small, white, about 1/2", with five, deeply lobed petals, that appear to be ten on casual examination, five pointed sepals, ten fairly conspicuous stamens, and three styles. The petals are approximately the same length as the sepals. Flowers organized in loose, terminal clusters (cymes).
Leaves: Opposite, 1"-2" long, lanceolate to linear, with smooth margins. Stems are 4-angular
Fruit: A dry ovoid capsule.
Blooming: May-July
Habitat: Damp fields, and open woods.

Comments: One of several starworts or stichworts in our area. The genus Stellaria is sometimes referred to as the true chickweeds, as distinguished from the somewhat similar mouse-ear chickweeds (genus Cerastium). Stellaria flowers have three styles; Cerastium generally five, and the plants tend to be smaller and hairier. This species has petals approximately equal in length to the sepals, which distinguishes it from the very similar common starwort Stellaria graminea.

Where to find it: Uncommon in the park. I have found it occasionally by the path near the west end of the pond.