Soleirolia soleirolii   Mind-your-own-business I

Soleirolia soleirolii whole Soleirolia soleirolii close

A popular garden plant until the gardener finds out that it spreads quickly and isn't killed by glycophosphate, this European introduction is also known as Paddy's Wig, Mother-of-thousands, Baby's-tears, Angel's Tears, Polyanna Vine, Corsican Curse and irish Moss although it is a vascular plant not a moss. It has tiny flowers best seen with a hand lens (not visible in the photos) but is grown in gardens for ground cover which it does very well. Although it looks nothing like it, it is a member of the Urticaceae family the most famous member of which in the British Isles is Urtica dioica the Stinging Nettle. It was named after an amateur Corsican botanist called Joseph-Francois Soleirol.

It is also delightful in that the common name can require you to tell people to "Mind your own business" when they politely enquire what it is called and should you not wish to use the common name then you'll find the botanical name almost unpronounceable. My solution is to feign ignorance but assure people that the leader will know. If I'm the leader I never show people this plant.

Soleirolia soleirolii is common in central and southern England and around the coasts of Wales. The frequency of records goes down in the north of England and it is uncommon in southern Scotland and almost unknown in the north. In Ireland it is found mostly around the south and south east and north eastern coastal areas but dotted elsewhere as well.


Near marshes at Crofty, Gower, Wales 11th August 2009

Added on December 1st 2004, updated 9th February 2012

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