Common Whitlowgrass is a
annual plant of the UK, typically found growing in coastal areas, pavement and waste ground, to a mature height of up to 10cm.
Common Whitlowgrass takes its name from the traditional herbal medicinal use of the plant to treat whitlow (a painful type of finger infection). Despite the name, however, the plant is not a type of grass. Common Whitlowgrass is a short, erect plant that emerges from a basal rosette of 'pimply' hairy leaves. It bears tiny flowers in clusters at the end of long, branched flowering stems. The flower petals are widely splayed and deeply cleft. Following pollination, distinctive large, flattened-oval seed pods emerge from amongst the flower petals. The seed pods ripen from green to brown.
Botanic classification and naming: Common Whitlowgrass is a member of the Cabbage (Brassicaceae) family. The genus name
'Erophila' identifies the plant as a Whitlowgrass and its species name 'verna' means 'spring plant'.