Thyme-Leaved Sandwort
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Thyme-Leaved Sandwort
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Thyme-Leaved Sandwort
Botanical name: Arenaria serpyllifolia    Family: Caryophyllaceae (Carnation family)
Synonyms: Arenaria alpicola, Stellaria serpyllifolia, Arenaria viscida

Thyme-Leaved Sandwort is an annual herb with stems 6-10 inches long that are rising or creeping. Stems are round, dark purple, and finely velvety. Multiple stems are produced from the base of the plant, but otherwise they are sparingly branched. Oppositely arranged leaves are widely spaced along the stems. Leaves are about 6-7 mm long and a little less across, ovate, smooth along the margins, and slightly ciliate. The upper stems terminate in small clusters of flowers. Flowers bloom only one or two at a time on stalks about 6 mm long. Each flower is about 5 mm across, consisting of 5 white petals, 5 green sepals, 10 stamens, and 3 styles. The petals are unnotched at their tips, while the sepals are lanceshaped, and longer than the petals. The seed capsules are ovoid, the same length or a little shorter than the sepals, and firm in texture. Each capsule has 3 bifurcated teeth (appearing to be 6 small teeth) along its upper rim. This plant reproduces by reseeding itself. Flowering: In the plains March- April, at higher altitudes, July-September.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed at Turtuk, Ladakh.
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