Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Long-Leaved Starwort (Stellaria longifolia)

Also called Long-Leaved Stitchwort, this is a remarkably delicate little plant whose ethereally insubstantial stems and leaves make it seem as though the starry little flowers are floating in the air. It likes an overgrown meadow; this one was growing among clovers and cinquefoils in a meadow near Cranberry, where it was blooming in the middle of June.

A good description from Mathews’ Field  Book of North American Wild Flowers:

A tall very slender species with many branches, the stem with rough angles, and the light green leaves small and lance-shaped. The tiny flowers like white stars, with five white petals so deeply cleft that they appear as ten, sepals nearly equalling the petals in length. 10-20 inches high. In wet grassy places everywhere.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

STELLARIA L. CHICKWEED. STARWORT
Sepals 4-5. Petals (white) 4-5, deeply 2-cleft, sometimes none. Stamens 8, 10, or fewer. Styles 3, rarely 4 or 5, opposite as many sepals. Pod ovoid, 1-celled, opening by twice as many valves as there are styles, several-many-seeded. Seeds naked. Flowers solitary or cymose, terminal or appearing lateral by the prolongation of the stem from the upper axils. (Name from stella, a star, in allusion to the star-shaped flowers.) ALSINE. in part, not Wahlenb.

S. longifolia Muhl. Stem erect, weak, often with rough angles (2-5 dm. high); leaves linear, acutish at both ends, spreading; cymes scaly-bracted, at length lateral, peduncled, many-flowered, the slender pedicels spreading or deflexed; fruit pale straw-colored; seeds smooth. (Alsine Britton.)—Grassy places, Nfd. to Md., and westw. June, July. (Eu.)


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