Plants erect, 3-20 cm. Leaves glaucous, in whorls of 4-12, basal rosette present; petiole 0.8-1.1 mm; blade linear to spatulate, 3-15 × 1-5 mm, base cuneate, apex acute to obtuse. Inflorescences: flowers in groups of 3-4 in stalked, axillary and terminal umbellate cymes. Flowers: sepals pale green, glaucous abaxially, white adaxially, elliptic to obovate, 1-1.5 × 1-1.6 mm, margins white, membranous; stamens 5, alternate with sepals; pedicel erect to spreading, 3-11 mm. Capsules subglobose, 1.5-1.8 × 1.5-1.9 mm. Seeds 20-40, brown, finely reticulate, 0.3-0.4 × 0.2-0.4 mm. 2n = 18.
Flowering late summer-early fall. Open woodlands, dry sandy soils; 400-2300 m; introduced; Ariz., Calif., N.Mex., Tex., Utah; n Mexico; s Europe; s Asia; Africa; Australia.
A specimen (in PH) of Mollugo cerviana is known as a waif from ballast in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Mollugo cerviana is a weed of sandy places in tropical and subtropical regions around the world (T. S. Bakshi and R. N. Kapil 1954; V. V. Sivarajan 1988). It has been used in India to treat fevers, and post-partum discharges and to purify the blood (K. R. Kirtikar and B. D. Basu 1935). In Africa, it is dried, powdered, and burned, and put in incisions to treat pleurisy, and the leaves are chewed to treat coughs and reduce hangovers (H. M. Burkill 1985). The species does not compete well in crowded conditions (Bakshi and Kapil 1954). Several varieties have been described, but delimitation of the varieties is unclear and needs further study.
Plant: annual herb or subshrub; glabrous, sometimes glaucous; STEMS one to several from base, erect, to 12 (18) cm tall Leaves: of basal rosette to 20 mm long, 1-2 (-4) mm wide, linear or narrowly lanceolate to oblanceolate; cauline leaves to 20 mm long, to 1 mm wide, linear Flowers: capsules, 1-several, pedicellate; sepals 5, scarious-margined, the midrib not extending to the apex; stamens 3-5 (10); pistils mostly 3-carpellate, the styles short or stigmas subsessileFRUITS slightly shorter than the sepals, the apex not or only obscurely lobed. SEEDS numerous, ca. 0.4 mm, broadly half-moon shaped, with a single keel along the rounded back, net-sculptured, shiny, red-brown Fruit: FRUITS capsules, slightly shorter than the sepals, the apex not or only obscurely lobed. SEEDS numerous, ca. 0.4 mm, broadly half-moon shaped, with a single keel along the rounded back, net-sculptured, shiny, red-brown Misc: 350-1700 m (1100-5500 ft); Aug-Oct Notes: 5- 10 leaves per whorl.Sepals are somewhat white on the inside. References: Christy, Charlotte M. 1998. Molluginaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 30(2): 112.. Kearney & Peebles; Arizona Flora. McDougall; Seed plants of Northern Arizona. Hickman ed.; The Jepson Manual. ASU specimans
Jepson 1993, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Correll and Johnston 1970, FNA
Duration: Annual Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Delicate, thin-stemmed annual, stems straw-colored or reddish, filiform, glabrous to puberulent. Multiple delicate stems ascend from a basal rosette of leaves. Leaves: Glaucous, linear to linear-lanceolate, 1-5 mm wide and 3-15 mm long, borne in whorls of 3-6, stipules absent. Flowers: Terminal or axillary umbels of 3-4 flowers, on capillary pedicels often longer than the leaves; flowers lacking petals; sepals white within with green midribs; stamens 3-5. Fruits: Longitudinally dehiscent capsule, <2 mm in diameter. Seeds irregularly obovoid, dark brown, dull, finely reticulate. Ecology: Found in sandy soils from 1,500-7,000 ft (457-2134 m); flowers August-October. Distribution: Native to Eurasia, Africa, and Australia; introduced to North America: throughout AZ and NM, w. TX, s. CA, n. MX Notes: Differentiate this from M. verticillata by the erect, filiform stems, the slender, linear or linear-lanceolate leaves, and reticulate seeds. M. verticillata has prostrate stems, narrowly oblanceolate cauline leaves to 8 mm wide, and smooth seeds. Ethnobotany: Used in India to treat fevers, post-partum discharges and to purify the blood. In Africa, it is used to treat pleurisy, coughs, and hangovers. Etymology: Mollugo probably comes from the Latin mollis, which means soft, while cerviana means deer or fawn colored. Synonyms: None Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011, AHazelton 2015+