This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Herbs, mostly annual, much branched, with verticillate, or in some species basal or alternate leaves, and small cymose or axillary whitish flowers. Stipules scarious, membranous, deciduous. Calyx 5-parted. Sepals persistent, scarious-margined. Petals none. Stamens 3-5, when 3 alternate with the cells of the ovary, when 5 alternate with the sepals. Ovary ovoid or globose, usually 3-celled. Capsule usually 3-celled, 3-valved, loculicidally dehiscent. Seeds small, the testa smooth, granular or sculptured.
About 12 species, most of them of tropical distribution. Besides the following typical one, another occurs in the Southwestern States.
Mollugo verticillata L. Sp. Pl. 89. 1753.
Prostrate, glabrous, not fleshy, much branched, spreading on the ground and forming patches sometimes 20' in diameter. Leaves verticillate, in 5's or 6's, spatulate, obovate or linear, entire, obtuse, 6"-12" long, narrowed into a petiole; flowers axillary, less than 1" broad; pedicels filiform; sepals oblong, slightly shorter than the ovoid capsule, which appears roughened by the projecting seeds; seeds reniform, usually smooth and shining.
In waste places and cultivated grounds, New Brunswick and Ontario to Minnesota, Washington, Florida, Texas and Mexico. Native of the warmer parts of America, now widely distributed as a weed. Also called Indian chickweed. Devil's-grip. May-Sept.