Minuartia dawsonensis (Rock Sandwort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Rock Stitchwort
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:perennial
  • State Threatened
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 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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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Washington County.


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

Posted by: Victoria - Wadena County
on: 2012-01-27 21:42:22

What else looks like this? I saw something like it at someone's homestead in Menhaga, Wadena County, Minnesota.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2012-01-29 13:39:47

Possibly Scleranthus annuus, a non-native that's been recorded in a few counties in eastern MN...?

Posted by: Genevieve Brand - Minneopa State Park
on: 2018-10-14 13:54:13

I'm reasonably certain that I have specimens of this plant form surveys at Minneopa State Park. I always catch it in August/September when it is essentially brown with only tiny capsules remaining for id purposes.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-10-14 18:23:15

Genevieve, if that is true the DNR would want to know about it.

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