Greater Stitchwort

©Jim Higham

Greater Stitchwort

©Philip Precey

Greater Stitchwort

Scientific name: Stellaria holostea
Star-of-Bethlehem' and 'Wedding Cakes' are just some of the other names for Greater Stitchwort. Look for its pretty, star-shaped, white flowers in woodlands and along hedgerows and roadside verges.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 50cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April to June

About

Greater Stitchwort grows in woodland and along roadside verges, hedgerows and grassy banks. It has many other common names, including 'Wedding Cakes', 'Star-of-Bethlehem', 'Daddy's-shirt-buttons' and 'Snapdragon' - the latter because its stems are brittle and easily break. Its pretty, star-shaped, white flowers bloom from April to June; as the seed capsules ripen, they can be heard 'popping' in late spring.

How to identify

Greater Stitchwort has five white petals, each deeply notched and almost divided into two. Its green leaves are grass-like in appearance and its brittle stems are square. Greater Stitchwort has larger flowers (2-3cm across) than its relative, Lesser Stitchwort (0.5-1cm across).

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Greater Stitchwort is visited by Honeybees, butterflies and hoverflies looking for spring nectar, and is the foodplant of the Marsh Pug, Plain Clary and Yellow Underwing moths.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.