Lesser Stitchwort / Spring / Summer / Edible
Lesser Stitchwort, is a common, native wildflower. It belongs to the Carnation or Caryophyllaceae family and as this plant is one of the first to flower in the year, seeing it gets me excited about the coming warmer months.
Lesser Stitchwort, Grass-leaved Starwort
Kingdom – Plantae
Order – Caryophyllales
Family – Caryophyllaceae
Physical Characteristics for Lesser Stitchwort
The leaves of Lesser Stitchwort are narrow and lance-shaped, each 1–4 centimetres long. The leaves are smooth-edged and hairless except for some hairs lining the bases. They are arranged oppositely along the stem.
The small, white flowers have five deeply divided petals, forming a star-like shape. These delicate flowers usually appear during the spring and summer months.
Initially it looks like the flowers have 10 petals but look closely and there are 5 deeply lobed petals.
Lesser Stitchwort is often found in grassy areas, meadows, and along woodland edges. When growing in fields and meadows it is often obscured by taller grasses making it hard to spot until it flowers.
No known hazards.
Could be Confused with…
Its closest look-a-like is Greater Stitchwort which is much larger and also edible.
It could also have the potential to be confused for either cleavers or sticky weed or chickweed – mainly because both are small sprawling-type plants. Amongst other differences, one of the most obvious is the flower of lesser stitchwort which looks like 4 flower petals have been split into 8 petals.
All parts of Lesser Stitchwort are edible, offering a mild, slightly sweet, lettuce like flavour. The young leaves and stems can be added to salads or used as a garnish. The flowers added a delicate touch to dishes.
Notes on Herbal Uses
In traditional medicine Lesser Stitchwort is used for its healing properties. It was believed to have antiseptic properties and was used to treat wounds and digestive disorders. It was also used as a diuretic and a remedy for respiratory problems.
Extra notes from the Foragers
The common name Stitchwort is a reference to a herbal remedy in which it was used to cure that pain in the side you sometimes get after exercise known as a ‘stitch’.