Friday, August 6, 2010

Blue Fieldmadder (Sherardia arvensis)

Sherardia arvensis is known by the common names Blue Fieldmadder and Fieldmadder. So far, I’ve only seen it at home where it was growing along a fence line that is mowed infrequently. I prefer the name Fieldmadder rather than Blue Fieldmadder, the name used on the USDA site. Flowers from most US sources show pink flowers in contrast to those from European sites which show blue flowers.

At first, casual glance, the plant looks like Bedstraw (Galium aparine). The leaves of both species are arranged in whorls. S. arvensis leaves are arranged in whorls of six compared with whorls of eight leaves on Galium aparine. Upon closer inspection, the leaves are distinctly different in shape; in addition, leaves of S. arvensis lack the prickles seen on leaves of G. aparine. The flowers of each species are only about 1/4 inches across and have four petals; G. aparine flowers are white compared with the flowers of S. arvensis which are pink or white flowers.

A patch of plants The flower clusters are not obvious.

A closer view of plants and flower heads.

The whorl of leaves.

The leaf whorls in profile.

Flower heads in profile.

Flower heads from above.

Flowerlets, close up.

Sherardia arvensis (Blue Fieldmadder) is native to Europe.. It grows in the eastern and some western states and provinces in the United States and Canada, respectively.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Sherardia arvensis (Blue Fieldmadder)

University of North Carolina Herbarium: Sherardia arvensis

Identification resources:
- Southeastern Flora: Blue Fieldmadder (Sherardia arvensis)

Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Sherardia arvensis
Missouri Plants: Sherardia arvensis

Related posts:
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index

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