Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Small herb with thin straggling stems, often scrambling through taller vegetation, leaves lance-shaped, usually up to 30 mm long and 5 mm wide in pairs along the stem, with many flowers produced in the upper parts of the plant, each up to 9 mm across, the white petals longer than the green sepals.
Scattered throughout the North, South and Chatham Islands.
Wetlands and margins of water bodies and wet grassland.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Commonly occurs as either a hydrophyte or non-hydrophyte (non-wetlands).
Perennial. Stems weak, ascending, 4-angled, glabrous, 15-60-(100) cm long. Lvs green, sessile, connate in pairs, narrow-oblanceolate to narrow-lanceolate below, narrow-lanceolate or becoming linear-lanceolate above, tapering gradually to acute apex and sparsely ciliate or glabrous base, (10)-15-30-(50) × 3-5-(8) mm; margin flat; marginal vein obscure or 0. Infl. a terminal dichasium, lax, (10)-20-60-flowered. Bracts ovate-acuminate to subulate, keeled, 4-7 × 1-3 mm; margins scarious, ciliate. Pedicels slender, patent, glabrous, 10-30-(50) mm long. Sepals narrow-triangular, acute, 3-veined, 4-7 mm long; margins scarious, ciliate. Petals 4-9 mm long, c. = or slightly > sepals. Stamens 10 or fewer. Capsule narrow-ovoid, = or > calyx. Seeds dull brown, c. 1 mm long; papillae low, elongate.
Similar to bog stitchwort (S. alsine), but has longer, relatively narrower leaves, many flowered inflorescences with larger white flowers.
November to April
November to April
Seed dispersed by water and contaminated machinery.
Europe and western Asia
Reason for introduction
Unknown, seed or soil contaminant
Not controlled in New Zealand.
stellaria: Star flower
Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA). Features description from Webb et al. (1988).
References and further reading
Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand Volume 4: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.
Johnson PN, Brooke PA (1989). Wetland plants in New Zealand. DSIR Field Guide, DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 319pp.