Sagina subulata

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Sagina subulata
Sagina subulata a1.jpg
Plant in flower, Poland
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Sagina
S. subulata
Binomial name
Sagina subulata
  • Alsine subulata (Sw.) E.H.L. Krause
  • Phaloe subulata (Sw.) Dumort.
  • Spergella subulata (Sw.) Rchb.
  • Spergula subulata Sw.

Sagina subulata ((syn. Sagina pilifera), the heath pearlwort,[2] Irish-moss,[3] awl-leaf pearlwort[4] or Scottish moss, is a species of flowering plant in the pink and carnation family Caryophyllaceae. It is native to Europe, from Iceland south to Spain, and east to southern Sweden and Romania. It occurs on dry sandy or gravelly soils.[5][6][7]


It is commonly cultivated in walkways between paving stones

Heath pearlwort is a low-growing prostrate perennial plant forming a thick, dense mat with stems less than 10 cm long, and slender subulate (awl-shaped) leaves up to 1 cm long. The flowers are 4–5 mm in diameter, with five white petals the same length as the green sepals; they are produced singly on erect stems 2–4 cm long. The seeds are smooth, brown, triangular shaped, 0.4–0.5 mm, produced in a capsule 2.5–3 mm long.[7][8][9]

British Isles[edit]

Sagina subulata is native to temperate areas of Europe. In the British Isles it is primarily found in Scotland, the Lake District, Wales, the Southwest and South of England, and the coasts of western Ireland. This mat-forming perennial, easy to overlook when not in flower, is found in dry, open, sandy or gravelly places, trackways, heaths, dry banks and grassy slopes near the sea. In the Trotternish Mountains on Skye, it is found on rocky ledges growing with Koenigia islandica. On Mount Brandon in County Kerry, Ireland, it grows at up to 700 m (2,300 ft), and at even higher altitudes on Ben Lawers in Perthshire.[10]


There are two varieties, Sagina subulata var. subulata with glandular-hairy sepals, and Sagina subulata var. glabrata Gillot with hairless sepals; the latter is often a lawn weed, and has been confused with the related Mediterranean species Sagina pilifera.[7][11] The cultivar 'Aurea' (referred to as Scottish or Scotch Moss in the horticultural trade) is grown as a garden plant.[12]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Sagina subulata". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  4. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Sagina". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  5. ^ Flora Europaea: Sagina subulata
  6. ^ Den virtuella floran: Sagina subulata (in Swedish, with maps)
  7. ^ a b c Flora of NW Europe: Sagina subulata
  8. ^ Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  9. ^ Heukel's Flora van Nederland
  10. ^ "Sagina subulata". Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  11. ^ Flora of Northern Ireland: Sagina subulata
  12. ^ Horticopia: Sagina subulata 'Aurea' Archived 16 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Media related to Sagina subulata at Wikimedia Commons