Mollugo verticillata (Carpetweed)

Plant Info
Also known as: Indian Chickweed, Devil's Grip
Genus:Mollugo
Family:Molluginaceae (Carpetweed)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:South or Central America
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; roadsides, waste areas, disturbed soil, gardens
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:1 to 6 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] 2 to 6 flowers on slender stalks arising from leaf axils. Flowers are about 1/8 inch across with 5 rounded petal-like sepals, white on the upper side and green underside. 3 or 4 white to yellowish tipped stamens surround the green ovary in the center.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are whorled in groups of 3 to 8. Leaves are linear to nearly spoon shaped, ¼ to 1½ inches long, 1/8 to 2/3 inch wide, toothless and hairless, rounded or pointed at the tip, mostly stalkless. Stems are hairless, branching from the leaf nodes, swollen to varying degrees at the node. Plants are typically sprawling, spreading in all directions from the base.

Notes:

The first time I came upon Carpetweed I thought it resembled a Bedstraw with 5-petaled flowers. The origin of this species is debatable but a common theory is it is not native and migrated north from South America. I have most often encountered it in sandy soils, but it is apparently not very particular about its habitat and grows most anywhere in dry to moist soil. A plant can spread rapidly, forming patches up to 20 feet in diameter.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, and Coon Rapids Dam, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Bob - Growing in street cracks in Hugo, MN.
on: 2016-06-28 13:36:41

A month ago it seemed to be all Hop Clover in the street and curb cracks. Now it looks like carpetweed is prevailing.

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