Common name: Corn spurrey.
This population originates from Co Down. Irish Grid reference: J594448.
Annual herbaceous plant. Very pretty, small, 1cm, bright white flowers from May to September. Flower bud stems bend down at a distinctive looking 110° angle down towards the ground, before lifting their pretty little faces up toward the sun. Leaves are blunt needle like yet straggly looking, resembling horsetail leaves in their whorls. This species produces two different looking seed, one germinates at 21C and the other at 14C, evolutionary brilliance!
The flower only opens in the sun, so it’s not a night feeder, suggested as a food plant of the large spider mite – which is beneficial in eating many smaller mites including red spider mite. Theunissen and den Ouden (1980) intercropped S. arvensis with Brussels sprouts, and showed that in addition to providing shelter and having a beneficial effect on soil structure, it significantly reduced the density of a number of pests, including Mamestra brassicae and Evergestis forficalis.
A corn field annual survivor, it likes disturbed/bare ground to get started.
In early spring, around March, sow on a bed of moist compost in a seed tray and cover very lightly, keep moist, never let the surface dry out. You can cover the seed tray with a sheet of white plastic until you start to see seedlings emerge. Prick out into modules and bring on until large enough to plant out in situ. Or sow direct into a well prepared seed bed in April.
A traditional famine food, but it contains saponins so too much isn’t recommended.
Avg contents: 250 seeds.