Fringed Rupturewort

Fringed Rupturewort, one of the rare plants of the Lizard, can be seen in sandy and rocky habitats. A small, unassuming plant, look for its brighter green colouring among the surrounding vegetation.
Photo: Amanda Scott

Scientific name: Herniaria ciliolata ssp. ciliolata

Conservation status: Red Data Book – vulnerable; IUCN – vulnerable.

Fringed Rupturewort, a small low-growing plant with tiny yellow-green flowers appearing from June, is one of the Lizard rarities. According to the NBN Gateway, on mainland Britain there have been no records other than on The Lizard since 2010. There are also records for the Fylde Coast (Lancashire) in the previous decade, and earlier records for other parts of West Cornwall and South Wales; recent records exist for Guernsey and Alderney, and another subspecies (ssp. subciliata) is endemic to Jersey.

Easy to overlook as well as being extremely rare, this woody hairy-leaved perennial with prostrate spreading shoots is found in rocky and sandy habitats, including maritime cliff tops, with a preference for short vegetation and basic soils. It belongs to the Campion family (Caryophyllaceae).

Did you know…?

…Fringed Rupturewort was once used as a remedy for kidney stones (there is no evidence to support the efficacy of this)

…it was first recorded, on The Lizard, by the Cambridge botanist John Ray in 1667.

More information and references:

Rose, F. and O’Reilly, C., 2006. The Wild Flower Key, 2nd edition. Frederick Warne, London.

Stace, C., 2010. New Flora of the British Isles, 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Published: June 2013
Author: Amanda Scott
Photos: Amanda Scott