Scleranthus annuus L.

Life cycle

Prostrate, mat-forming summer or winter annual.


Opposite, very narrow and linear, grayish green leaves with sharp points resemble pine needles or grass leaves. Leaves are joined at the nodes by a translucent membrane.


Grayish green, prostrate and spreading stems with numerous branches can form dense mats.

knawel plant
Knawel plant.

Flowers and fruit

Spiny, green or rarely whitish flowers are formed in clusters in the leaf axils. Flowers are generally not distinguishable. Egg-shaped, capsule-like fruit contain one seed.



Similar weeds

Birdseye pearlwort (Sagina procumbens L.) Differs by having a perennial nature with spreading stolons; bright green foliage; more distinguishable, small white flowers; and fruit that are persistent capsules with many seeds.

pearlwort flowers pearlwort plants
Birdseye pearlwort flowers (left). Birdseye pearlwort plants (right).

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