Alternative common names:
Procumbent pearlwort, Matted pearlwort (English)
Birdeye Pearlwort is a perennial mat-forming plant with narrow leaves and tiny white flowers. It can become a troublesome weed when allowed to spread and establish in turf. This weed can populate most soil conditions very quickly by seed. Pearlwort is a good indicator of moist/wet conditions and is often mistaken for moss in lawns. Swards that are maintained at low mowing heights below 6mm (golf and bowling greens) are susceptible to invasion from this weed.
Where does this species come from?Northern Hemisphere and parts of South America
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA-Category1b Prince Edward and Marion Island. Not listed on mainland or other off-shore islands.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Edward and Marion Island.
How does it spread?Pearlwort produces an incredible number of small seeds which can be spread by mowing and foot traffic and also efficiently through its branched rootstock.
Why is it a problem?
Once established, Sagina procumbens can form large, dense mats. It is a serious threat to native vegetation and soil fauna communities on the cold, oceanic islands where it has been introduced.
What does it look like?
Leaves: Leaves are very narrow and thin, having quite a thick cuticle which enables Pearlwort to be resistant to weed killers.
Flowers: Flowers are small and inconspicuous, and it is generally difficult to distinguish their structures. They are white in colour, with 4 petals and are generally found on long stems near the tips of the branches.
Flowers in June-September.
Fruit/seeds: Almost round, yellowish grey, 4-valved capsule.
Does the plant have any uses?