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..
Tufted matted low annual or perennial herbs, with subulate leaves, and small pedicelled whitish flowers. Sepals 4 or 5. Petals of the same number, entire, emarginate or none. Stamens of the same number, or fewer, or twice as many. Ovary 1-celled, many-ovuled. Styles as many as the sepals and alternate with them. Capsule 4-5-valved, at length dehiscent to the base, the valves opposite the sepals. [Ancient name of the spurry.]
About 10 species, natives of the northern hemisphere. Type species: Sagina procumbens L.
Parts of the flower in 4's (or some flowers in 5's); seeds not resinous-dotted.
Parts of the flower in 5's, rarely some in 4's.
Leaves opposite, not fascicled.
Petals equalling or shorter than the sepals; seeds resinous-dotted.
Petals and pods longer than the sepals.
Leaves fascicled in the axils; petals exceeding the sepals.
Sagina procumbens L. Sp. Pl. 128. 1753.
Annual or perennial, branching, decumbent, depressed or spreading, glabrous or minutely downy, matted, 1'-3' high. Leaves linear, subulate, 1"-3" long, connate at the base; flowers about 1" broad, numerous; peduncles capillary, longer than the leaves, often recurved at the end after flowering; sepals 4, sometimes 5, ovate-oblong, obtusish. generally longer than the petals, which are occasionally wanting; stamens 4, rarely 5; capsule about equalling the calyx; seeds dark brown, not resinous-dotted.
In moist places, Newfoundland and Greenland to Delaware and Michigan. Native of Europe and Asia. Our plant is probably in part naturalized from Europe, as it is in Mexico and in South America. Breakstone. Bird's-eye. Poverty. May-Sept.
Sagina nivālis Fries, a very diminutive species, inhabits Greenland and arctic Europe and is recorded from Labrador.
Spergula decumbens Ell. Bot. S. C. & Ga. 1: 523. 1817.
Sagina decumbens T. & G. Fl. N. A. 1: 177. 1838.
Sagina subulata T. & G. Fl. N. A. 1: 178. 1838. Not Presl, 1826.
Sagina subulata var. Smithii A. Gray, Man. Ed. 5, 95. 1867.
Sagina decumbens Smithii S. Wats. Bibl. Index 1: 105. 1878.
Annual, tufted, stems decumbent, erect or ascending, 2-4' long, glabrous or minutely glandular-pubescent above. Leaves narrowly linear, sometimes bristle-tipped, 3"-5" long; peduncles filiform, 3"-15" long; flowers 1"-1 1/2" broad; sepals, petals and styles 5, or rarely 4; stamens 5 or 10; petals equalling or shorter than the calyx or none; pod ovoid-oblong, nearly twice as long as the calyx; sepals acutish or obtuse; seeds with resinous glands
In dry soil, eastern Massachusetts to Illinois, south to Florida, Missouri and Louisiana. Slender races with 4-parted flowers, the petals minute or wanting have been mistaken for S. apetala Ard. of Europe. March-May.
Spergula saginoides L. Sp. Pl. 441. 1753.
Sagina Linnaei Presl, Rel. Haenk. 2: 14. 1835.
Perennial, glabrous, tufted, 1'-4' high, few-flowered or the flowers solitary at the ends of the stems. Leaves linear-subulate, or filiform, 2"-5"long, acuminate or mu-cronate; flowers 1 1/2"-2 1/2" broad; sepals, petals and styles 5; stamens 10; sepals oval, obtuse, half the length of the ovoid-oblong capsule.
Spergula nodosa L. Sp. Pl. 440. 1753. Sagina nodosa Fenzl, Verbr. Alsin. 18. 1833.
Perennial, tufted, erect or decumbent, 2'-6' high, stems sparingly branched, slender, glabrous, or slightly glandular-pubescent above. Lower leaves linear, teretish, 4" -8" long, mucronulate, the upper shorter and with clusters of minute ones in their axils; flowers few, about 3" broad, terminating the stem and branches; sepals, petals and styles 5; stamens 10; peduncles 3"-8" long; sepals obtuse, 1" long; petals obo-vate, longer than the calyx, as is also the ovoid pod.
In wet places, Massachusetts to Greenland; Lake Superior, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic Sea. Northern Europe and Asia. Summer.