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carpet-weed, common carpetweed, devil's grip, green carpet-weed, Indian chickweed, mollugine, mollugo verticillé

carpet weed, slender carpet-weed, thread-stem carpet-weed

Habit Plants prostrate to ascending, 3–15 (–45) cm. Plants erect, 3–20 cm.

not glaucous, in whorls of 3–8, basal rosette present, sometimes disappearing as plant matures;

petiole 0.5–4 mm;

blade linear to elliptic, obovate, or broadly spatulate, 5–40 × 0.5–15 mm, base cuneate, apex obtuse to rounded or acute.

glaucous, in whorls of 4–12, basal rosette present;

petiole 0.8–1.1 mm;

blade linear to spatulate, 3–15 × 1–5 mm, base cuneate, apex acute to obtuse.


flowers 2–6 in sessile, axillary umbels.

flowers in groups of 3–4 in stalked, axillary and terminal umbellate cymes.


sepals green abaxially, white adaxially, oblong-elliptic, 1.5–2.5 × 0.5–1.2 mm, margins scarious;

stamens 3[–4], alternate with carpels;

pedicel erect-ascending at anthesis, erect to deflexed in fruit, 3–20 mm.

sepals pale green, glaucous abaxially, white adaxially, elliptic to obovate, 1–1.5 × 1–1.6 mm, margins white, membranous;

stamens 5, alternate with sepals;

pedicel erect to spreading, 3–11 mm.


ovoid-ellipsoid, 2.5–3.3 × 1.4–2.2 mm.

subglobose, 1.5–1.8 × 1.5–1.9 mm.


15–35, dark or reddish brown, with blackish, parallel, curved ridges on sides, or smooth, 0.5–0.6 × 0.4–0.5 mm.

20–40, brown, finely reticulate, 0.3–0.4 × 0.2–0.4 mm.


= 64.

= 18.

Mollugo verticillata

Mollugo cerviana

Phenology Flowering summer–early fall. Flowering late summer–early fall.
Habitat Weedy in fields, gardens, roadsides, moist to dry soils, sand Open woodlands, dry sandy soils
Elevation 0-3000 m (0-9800 ft) 400-2300 m (1300-7500 ft)
from FNA
AL; AR; AZ; CA; CO; CT; DC; DE; FL; GA; IA; ID; IL; IN; KS; KY; LA; MA; MD; ME; MI; MN; MO; MS; MT; NC; ND; NE; NH; NJ; NM; NV; NY; OH; OK; OR; PA; RI; SC; SD; TN; TX; VA; VT; WA; WI; WV; WY; BC; MB; NB; NS; ON; QC; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies; Eurasia; Africa
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
AZ; CA; NM; TX; UT; n Mexico; s Europe; s Asia; Africa; Australia [Introduced in North America]
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[BONAP county map]

Some authors consider Mollugo verticillata a native of the New World tropics that spread northward into subtropical and temperate regions (M. L. Fernald 1950; H. A. Gleason and A. Cronquist 1991). If so, the species apparently spread very rapidly, because herbarium specimens exist from Ohio in 1828, Michigan in 1837, and Maine in 1837. J. Chapman et al. (1974) presented archaeological evidence of pre-Columbian presence of M. verticillata at a site in Tennessee.

Morphology and anatomy of the species are well studied. T. Holm (1911) investigated anisophyly in Mollugo verticillata and stated that the leaves are not “pseudo-verticillate,” as described by some earlier authors, but are truly opposite. M. A. Payne (1933, 1935) conducted morphologic and anatomic analyses of the leaf, stem, root, flower, and seed of the species. Pollen morphology was examined by N. Mitroiu (1971).

Several subspecific taxa have been described for Mollugo verticillata, but these are poorly understood; attempts to subdivide the species in North America for this treatment failed. The species is extremely morphologically variable, especially with regard to leaf shape, overall size, and habit. There seem to be no direct correlations between habitat type and morphology.

Mollugo verticillata possesses intermediate C3–C4 photosynthetic pathway characteristics, such as well- defined bundle-sheaths with numerous C4-like chloroplasts, distinct palisade and spongy parenchyma as in C3 plants, and intermediate light to dark ratios of CO2 evolution, which have made the species of particular interest in studies of the evolution and biochemistry of both photosynthetic pathways (R. A. Kennedy et al. 1980).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

A specimen (in PH) of Mollugo cerviana is known as a waif from ballast in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mollugo cerviana is a weed of sandy places in tropical and subtropical regions around the world (T. S. Bakshi and R. N. Kapil 1954; V. V. Sivarajan 1988). It has been used in India to treat fevers, and post-partum discharges and to purify the blood (K. R. Kirtikar and B. D. Basu 1935). In Africa, it is dried, powdered, and burned, and put in incisions to treat pleurisy, and the leaves are chewed to treat coughs and reduce hangovers (H. M. Burkill 1985). The species does not compete well in crowded conditions (Bakshi and Kapil 1954). Several varieties have been described, but delimitation of the varieties is unclear and needs further study.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 4, p. 510. FNA vol. 4, p. 511.
Parent taxa Molluginaceae > Mollugo Molluginaceae > Mollugo
Sibling taxa
M. cerviana
M. verticillata
Synonyms Pharnaceum cervianum
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 89. (1753) (Linnaeus) Seringe: in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, Prodr. 1: 392. (1824)
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