© 2016-2019 Erika Alin

Knotted Pearlwort

Sagina nodosa

When not in bloom, a knotted pearlwort is easy to mistake for a simple tuft of grass. Its deep-rooted clusters of narrow leaves rise no taller than a finger, with green or red stems extending from their margins. While some clusters spread their flower stems more loosely, many form compact mounds. The stems bear buds and tiny leaves with minuscule bulbils in their axils. Packed with nutrients, the bulbils can drop from the stem and grow into new plants. The buds, meanwhile, open into tiny five-petaled white flowers. Hugging the bare windswept rock, the tiny blossoms of pearlworts reward those who look closely with each step.