Plants annual. Taproots filiform to somewhat thickened. Stems erect to widely spreading, green or purple, 4-30 cm, stipitate-glandular distally, internodes of all stems 1-5 times as long as leaves. Leaves sometimes overlapping proximally, ± evenly spaced, connate proximally, with loose, scarious sheath 0.3-0.7 mm; blade straight to variously curved or coiled, green or purple, concave, 1-3 veined, linear, 5-40 × 0.2-0.4 mm, flexuous, margins not thickened, often scarious, sometimes ciliate or stipitate-glandular, apex green to purple, acute, navicular, dull, glabrous to stipitate-glandular; axillary leaves present proximally. Inflorescences 7-15+-flowered, open cymes; bracts subulate, scarious. Pedicels 0.2-4 cm, stipitate-glandular. Flowers: hypanthium disc-shaped; sepals 1(-3)-veined, midvein often more prominent than lateral veins, ± ovate (herbaceous portion lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate to narrowly ovate), 2.5-3.7 mm, not enlarging in fruit, apex often purple, obtuse to acute, not hooded, stipitate-glandular at least proximally; petals ovate, (1-)1.7-2.1 times as long as sepals, apex broadly rounded, entire or irregularly dentate. Capsules on stipe 0.3-0.5 mm, broadly ovoid, 4 mm, longer than sepals. Seeds reddish brown, winged, orbiculate with radicle not prolonged, compressed, 1.3-2 mm, tuberculate; tubercles low, elongate.
Flowering spring-early summer. Sandy and rocky slopes in chaparral, oak or pine woodlands; 100-1800 m; Ariz., Calif., Oreg.
The winglike margins on the seeds of Minuartia douglasii are unique among North American members of the genus; M. howellii and M. tenella, the other members of sect. Greniera (Gay) Mattfeld, do not share this feature.
Plants with petal apices usually emarginate rather than entire and obtuse and often shorter than in typical plants have been recognized by some as var. emarginata.
Wiggins 1964, Jepson 1993
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Delicate annual with slender stems 5-25 cm tall, sparingly capitate-glandular or glabrate. Leaves: Opposite, filiform-subulate, 5-30 mm long, bases slightly expanded, scarious at margins and connate, thread-like, becomes curled. Flowers: Loosely cymose, filiform pedicels, 5-45 mm long, ovate sepals, 2-3 mm long, margins scarious, midrib often reddish; petals obovate, 3-5 mm long. Fruits: Subglobose capsule, 4-5 mm high, seeds reddish brown, about 1 mm broad, smooth. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes, flats, and sandy places from 2,500-6,000 ft (762-1829 m); flowers March-June. Notes: Jepson 1993, suggests this is often found on serpentine soils in addition to being in chaparral, oak, and pine woodlands. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Minuartia is named for Joan Minuart (1693-1768) a Spanish botanist and apothecary, while douglasii is named for the Scottish botanical collector David Douglas (1798-1834). Synonyms: Arenaria douglasii, Arenaria douglasii var. emarginata, Arenaria emarginata, Minuartia douglasii var. emarginata Editor: SBuckley, 2010