Stellaria holostea

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Greater Stitchwort
Stellaria holostea Grote muur.jpg
Stellaria holostea with its distinctive notched petals
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Stellaria
Species: S. holostea
Binomial name
Stellaria holostea

Stellaria holostea, the addersmeat[1] or greater stitchwort, is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant in the carnation family Caryophyllaceae.


It can grow up to 60 centimetres (24 in) in height, with roughly 4-angled stems. The long, narrow (lanceolate) leaves are greyish green, hairless, sessile, opposite and decussate (the successive pairs borne at right angles to each other).[2]:460[3]:90[4] The flowers are white, 20-30mm across with five petals split to about halfway down and much shorter sepals.[4][5]


Stellaria, the genus name, means 'star-like'.[citation needed] The specific epithet holostea comes from the Greek holosteon, literally meaning 'entire bone'; a reference to the brittleness of the weak stems of this plant. The common name Stitchwort is a reference to a herbal remedy in which this plant is used allegedly to cure side stitch, which afflicts many people when they try to run without stretching first.[6]


Stellaria holostea is native to Western and Central Europe, including the British Isles.


  1. ^ "Stellaria holostea". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521707725. 
  3. ^ Blamey, M.; Fitter, R.; Fitter, A (2003). Wild flowers of Britain and Ireland: The Complete Guide to the British and Irish Flora. London: A & C Black. ISBN 978-1408179505. 
  4. ^ a b Sterry, Paul (1997). Complete British Wildlife. London: HarperCollins. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-583-33638-3. 
  5. ^ Waller, Chris (1981). Nature Guide to the Lake District. London: Usborne Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 0-86020-403-0. 
  6. ^ Stellaria holostea - Greater Stitchwort Retrieved 15 May 2017.

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