Parsley-pierts

Field Parsley-piert Slender Parsley-piert Slender Parsley-piert Slender Parsley-piert

What are they?

These tiny plants are easily overlooked as their general demeanour is always like that of a plant that hasn't quite got going yet! Despite being members of the rose family, parsley-pierts lack the showy qualities usually associated with that family and are low, creeping plants with tiny green flowers that are hidden amongst the foliage.

Where are they found?

Parsley-pierts are plants of open, lightly disturbed ground and are most often found on arable farm margins and along tracks on lighter, sandy soils.

Identification

The rather parsley-like leaves of these species, coupled with their low habit make them fairly easy to recognise, but telling the species apart can be difficult. The flowers are tiny and appear in small clusters opposite the leaves. Typical for members of the rose family, the leaves have structures called stipules - leaf-like extensions at the base of the petiole (stem) of the true leaf - and in parsley-pierts, these stipules are fused and form a frilly collar around the stem at each leaf base. The flowers are contained within this frilly collar. For identification, make a note of the precise appearance of the green flowers (especially the position of the sepals - erect or spreading) and the shape of the lobes around the margins of the frilly stipules.



Field Parsley-piert      Aphanes arvensis

Native. Widespread in the region on disturbed soils, especially on arable headlands, farmland that is fallow and similar places. Flowers May to October. Usually a prostrate species, forming dense mats of bright green vegetation, but may also form short, upright stems. The sepals of the petalless flowers are typically erect to slightly spreading, giving a flower that looks tubular and broadens out at the top. The flowers are nestled down inside the frill formed by the stipule and the lobes of the stipules are roughly as long as they are wide, thus forming equilateral triangles; these lobes are about half as long as the entire portion of the stipule.

Field Parsley-piert Field Parsley-piert Field Parsley-piert Field Parsley-piert
Habit
Flowers
Flowers and stipule
Leaves


Slender Parsley-piert      Aphanes australis

Native. Widespread in the region and the species mostly commonly found on light, sandy soils, especially in coastal areas and Breckland. Flowers May to October. Usually a prostrate species, forming dense mats of bright green vegetation, but may also form short, upright stems. The sepals of the petalless flowers are typically erect to slightly incurved, giving a flower that looks tubular and narrows at the top. The flowers are nestled inside the frill formed by the stipule and the lobes of the stipules are noticeably longer than they are wide; these lobes are about as long as the entire portion of the stipule.

Slender Parsley-piert Slender Parsley-piert Slender Parsley-piert Slender Parsley-piert
Habit
Flowers
Stipule
Leaves