Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Water Stitchwort
Sagina fontinalis
Family: Caryophyllaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  E
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S1S2

On permanently wet limestone cliffs or ledges above or along streams in full sun or light shade.

Species Description:
Plant a smooth, pale green, slender, upright to lax annual, which often occurs in extensive mats (""green hair""). Stems somewhat stiff, 4-12 inches tall. Flowers mostly 4-parted; sepals pale yellow-green, 3-veined, triangular, erect and spreading, about 0.1-0.15 inch long. Petals never evident. Fruit a 3-parted egg- shaped capsule, about 0.1-0.15 inches long, producing about 20 shiny, dark reddish-brown seeds.

Flowering Period: Early April to late June.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
Many plants in this family resemble each other, and generic limits are subject to debate. This species is characteristic in its habit of forming dense mats of numerous individuals (said to resemble "green hair") and in its 4-parted flowers which are usually without petals. Sandwort (Minuartia/Arenaria patula) blooms at the same time, and could be found in the same habitat, but it has an evident white corolla, in contrast to Water stitchwort.

Avoid changes in moisture/hydrologic conditions at the site. Changes could result from overstory removal, stream/wetland alteration or vegetation removal that would result in increased erosion.

Global Range:
Apparently confined to the Interior Low Plateaus Province of Tennessee and Kentucky; Franklin, Woodfood and Clark counties, along the Kentucky River tributaries in Kentucky.

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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