Erophila verna   Common Whitlowgrass CC D N

Erophila verna whole Erophila verna close Erophila verna from above

Whitlow grass is of course not a grass at all but a very small white crucifer which flowers in the early Spring or late Winter. It is one of those plants you can see on stony ground in the first hunts of the year but which, by May or June has completely disappeared without trace. The rosettes look quite like those of Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd's Purse) but the plant is usually smaller reaching a maximum of 10 cm with flowers only a few millimetres across. As with many crucifers the key to identification lies with the combination of fruit shape, leaf shape and flower.

E. verna is found throughout England, Wales and Scotland but is less common in Ireland where records mostly come from the far south and north.

LHS: Bishopthorpe Palace 27th April 05 Mid: Newborough Forest, Anglesey 4th April 08 RHS: Helsby, Cheshire 16th January 05

Added on January 16th 2005, updated 8th January 2009, updated 10th March 2010

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