Sagina saginoides (L.) H.Karst. (Caryophyllaceae) is a common, loose cushion forming herb in alpine zones of Uttarakhand. The entire plant is hardly 5-8cm across. Flowers 2-4mm across.



ID Requested AT OCT2016/05 : 9 posts by 5 authors. Attachments (1)

Kindly identify
October 23, 2016
Place: Narkanda, Shimla, India
Altitude: 8700- 8800 feet

Caryophyllaceae. Please check for Sagina saginoides.

Nice to know, I had seen this for the first time.. will share mine pics too…!!

This does seem to fit Sagina and the obvious species is S.saginoides (L.) Karst. which was called S.procumbens in FBI and this is what Collet
named it in ‘Flora Simlensis’ – remarking it was found at Shimla and Narkunda on gravell walks and road-sides being the same as ‘Pearlwort’ in Britain.
However, this is where it gets more complicated.
Stewart listed the plant as S.saginoides with S.procumbens of FBI non. L as a synonym i.e. S.procumbens L. – the ‘Procumbent Pearlwort’ being a separate species. He recorded as common in Pakistan & Kashmir from 1500-4200m incl, Ladakh.
Both are accepted names and we have both in the UK. S.procumbens is common throughout the UK in paths, lawns, ditch-sides & short turf – it is even found just 50 metres from where I type in gaps in pavement. Whereas S.saginoides is a rare arctic-alpine plant of barish ground and rock ledges on mountains in Scotland.
Makes me wonder if the two separate species might not have been mixed up in the past?  Collet certainly thought they were the same species but thata is not the case.  Interestingly the ‘Scottish Pearlwort’ is recognised which is a hybrid between the two species!
In the UK (whether this applies in India I do not know) they can be separated by the usually 4-merous flowers & 4 stamens with petals minute or 0 in S.procumbens (I certainly remember struggling to detect any petals in a specimen from my road even with a hand lens) whereas the flowers of S.saginoides  are usually 5-merous, sometimes 4-merous, stamens 10, rarely 8, petals +/- obvious and generally a more upright plant.
Collet describes petals & sepals as 4 or 5!  Flowers very small, white. Stamens 4 or 5.
As to the single image taken at Narkund (please, please take more than one shot per plant, several, as explained) – there are only capsules to be seen, though it appears there are 5 sepals.  Would the serious botanists amongst you look out for this plant on future trips to Narkanda or Simla or presumably lots of other places and with the aid of the hand lenses I am encouraging everyone to carry with them when looking at and photographing flowers, please check the number of stamens and how distinct the petals are on future occasions.
Perhaps both species occur in the hills and mountains of India with the habitat helping to distinguish between them, rather than one?
In the UK it is easy. Unless one is in the mountains of Scotland then S.saginoides is not a possibility. But this level of familiarity with our flora is a result of thousands of active field botanists exploring all over the Britain over a period of 2-3 centuries.

Please find a few more pics of the same individual, though I believe this herb was in post-flowering stage. Place Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh, October 23, 2016. I cannot say if they will help to conclude the id.. Attachments (4)

Thanks for sending the additional images which were useful – though alone cannot resolve the issue raised.
5 sepals are clearly shown (consistent with S.saginoides) but the specimen is not at the flowering stage to determine the number of stamens.
It would be informative to know if the record(s) of Sagina saginoides for Ladakh is/are from ‘weedy’ locations or more ‘alpine’?



Herbaceous plant for ID : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (2).
Plants pic was taken in the month of June 2014 from Ghangariya, district Chamoli, Uttarakhand

Beautiful picture.
To me it is a species of Sagina. May be S.saginoides (Caryophyllaceae). However, plant seems quite robust causing doubt.
Flowers are in stage of seed dispersal, opening by 5 valves which are clearly visible to me.
Thanks for sharing this species which is not in eFI (if it proves as S.saginoides or any other species).

I don’t think it as Sagina, corolla seems gamopetalous. …, please upload a cropped close up of flower from original message.

The floral part appearing as corolla is mature fruit opened at top by five valves, still united in lower part (thus loking as corolla tube) to me. The brownish structure visible in the centre are seeds. Off cource the pictures are not very clear.
In Sagina petals are either absent or deciduous not lasting upto fruiting.

Hats off to you … for interpretation, and for … for great macro.

Illustration from FOC
Images can be seen at FOC

Thanks to all the experts for critical examination and helping me in identification of the plant

Pl. check other species of Sagina found in India as below:

Looks matching ! CalPhotos


Sagina saginoides For Validation: 5 images.

I have observed this subalpine to alpine perennial herb which looks similar to Sagina saginoides in Mandi, H.P. at an altitude of 2800 meters, please validate the ID.
Sagina saginoides (L.) H.Karst.
Habitat: Semi-moist open slopes, rocks, and walls
Flowering: Summers (April-May)
Status: Common 
Place: Mandi. H.P.
Date: 11 March and 10 April, 2024

I guess the ID is correct !


SK 3950 05 April 2024: 4 very high res. images.

Location: Sanchal, Lalitpur, Nepal
Date: 05 April 2024 
Elevation: 1400m.
Habitat: Wild
Not Spergula arvensis L. , is it ?

It appears to have been browsed by cattles etc.
To me appears close as per images at

It was in a private garden. No cattles.

Sagina saginoides (L.) Karsten ??

But elevation seems lower as per the Checklist of Nepal.
Flora of China states from above 1440 mtr.