, , , , ,

Well, now we are well into Spring, so there are more and more flowers to choose from, but this month I have gone for a plant called Greater Stitch-wort, Stellaria holostea.

This wild flower has many common names, some of the English ones are Star of Bethlehem and Daddy’s Shirtbuttons, both of these names were familiar to me as a child, in fact I seem to remember calling it just Shirtbuttons. The name  Stitch-wort comes from Anglo Saxon because, wort means plant. There are lots of common plant names ending in wort, such as Ragwort, Milkwort or Liverwort, there are hundreds of them. The stitch part comes from the pain you can get in your side called the Stitch and it was believed that a potion made from boiling up leaves of this plant could alleviate the Stitch.  Maybe? Anyway all parts of this plant are edible so it can be used in a wild flower salad.

The scientific name, Stellaria,  is based on the fact that this plant has five petals like the five points on a star. Not all stars have five points but lots do, including the stars on the flag of Europe denoting each of the member countries. At first sight you might think it has ten petals but it is only five, each of which is deeply lobed,giving it the appearance of ten.

This plant flowers from April through to May, it is fairly common, preferring to grow on roadside banks. It is easily overlooked when not in flower as its leaves are long and narrow and fairly grass like.