Unseasonal Stellaria…

Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) is an archaetypal springtime species, seen to most dramatic effect in a woodland floor amongst bluebells. I was therefore a little surprised to see one in flower in October, a long time past the typical flowering season for the species (April – June).

Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) flowering in OctoberA few days later, I spotted this lesser stitchwort (Stellaria gramminea) flowering profusely beneath autumn dew. This species is less characteristic of the springtime with a typical flowering period between May and August, but is still extending to the end of it’s typical flowering period in October.

Lesser stitchwort (Stellaria graminea) flowering in OctoberThe most frequent response to this seems to be ‘they don’t read the books’ which I always find a little intellectually unadventurous. The books characterise the usual habitats of these species and they are broadly correct when describing the norm. Rather than to dismiss exceptions, it is surely more interesting to note them, record them and wonder why? Is it something about the local conditions; or the weather this year; or an impact such as cutting which has encouraged them to flower again? I don’t know the answers in this case, but I will always keep on wondering why!

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