A Stitchwort at the Roadside

Greater Stitchwort, (Flowers 15-30mm Dia) Bridge. March.

Greater Stitchwort, (Flowers 15-30mm Dia) Bridge. March.

Residents of the village leaving towards Canterbury may notice what initially look like daisies at the side of the road. Some of these are not daisies but Greater Stitchwort. The plant, a relative of the Lesser Stitchwort, is quite common and considered a weed by many gardeners, but nevertheless an attractive wild flower to see in early Spring.

Where Lesser Stitchwort is found in more open aspects Greater Stitchwort tends to be found in woodland and shaded hedgerows. The visual distinction is simple, with Lesser flowers measuring up to 18 mm in diameter and Greater flowers being larger, up to 30mm. Although the flower may appear to have ten petals, in fact it only has five, each with a huge division within.

Stitchwort gets its name because it was used to cure the stomach pains called ‘the stitch’. Greater Stitchwort was also used to cure broken bones, but it appears Lesser was not used for this purpose.

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