Minuartia dawsonensis (Rock Sandwort)
|Also known as:||Rock Stitchwort|
|Habitat:||sun; dry; limestone and sandstone outcrops, sand prairie|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||3 to 8 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are white and very tiny, less than ¼ inch long, arrayed on the tips of slender but stiff, branched stalks, ranging in number from few to many. The 5 narrowly oval petals are often shorter than the sepals or sometimes absent altogether. The 5 green sepals are lance-oval with a prominent mid-vein and finely bristled at the tip.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are short, narrow and bristly forming dense clusters at the base with opposite sets ascending the lower stems, often with several shorter leaves clustered in the axils. Stems are stiff and slender, green to reddish brown in color.
Rock Sandwort, formerly Arenaria stricta, requires hot dry exposed sites in conjunction with bedrock outcrops and calcium rich sandy soils, often growing in a few crumbs of organic matter in the cracks and crevices of rock. Agriculture, grazing in particular, has diminished its habitat to a few known locations in which it can flourish. According to the DNR, it was listed as a Special Concern species in 1984 but is being considered elevated to Threatened status.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Washington County.
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