Thyme-leaved Sandwort
Arenaria serpyllifolia L.
Family: Caryophyllaceae, Pink
Genus: Arenaria
Other names: thymeleaf sandwort
Nomenclature: serpyllifolia = leaves like Thymus serpyllum
Nativity / Invasiveness: native and introduced plant
Edible plant
Medicinal plant

General: annual, with very short, rough, backward-directed hairs, often becoming glandular above. Stems 1 to several, slender, erect or ascending, simple to freely branched, 10-30 cm tall.

Leaves: opposite, ovate to lanceolate, much shorter than the internodes, 3-7 mm long, 1.5-4 mm broad, 3 (5)-nerved, needle-shaped, sharply pointed, at least the lower ones abruptly short-stalked and slightly united at bases, sometimes dotted with minute pimples.

Flowers: usually several, borne in typically open, diffuse clusters with leafy bracts. Flower stalks almost thread-like, 1-4 times as long as the flowers. Sepals lanceolate, sharp-pointed, about 3 mm long. Petals about 2/3 as long as the sepals. Disc tiny with 3 styles. May-July.

Fruits: capsules, ovoid- to pear-shaped, about equalling or slightly exceeding the calyx, 6-valved. Seeds grayish-purple, 0.5 mm long, covered with warty lumps in a checkered pattern in concentric rows.


Dry to moist, barren or sandy to grassy or wooded areas, in n.w and s.c. parts of MT. A widespread Eurasian species throughout much of temperate N. America, often weedy.
Edible Uses

The entire plant can be used as a pot-herb.

Medicinal Uses

The plant has agents that prevent or relieve cough, tend to purify and cleanse the blood, induce urination and that are fever-reducing. A decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of dysentery. It has also been used in the treatment of bladder complaints, calculus troubles and acute and chronic cystitis.

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