Down Garden Services


Common Whitlowgrass

Scientific Name: Draba verna syn. Erophila verna
Other names: Early Whitlow Grass, Nailwort, Shadflower, Spring Draba, Spring Whitlow Grass, Vernal Whitlow-grass
Family: Brassicaceae or Cruciferae

Not really a problem, infact it can be missed as it is so small and usually in gravelly areas unless the plants are in a large group when the flowers are more noticeable. It has been used in the past as a herbal remedy for whitlow, an inflammation of the finger or toe nail - hence some of the common names.

The lanceolate leaves grow from a small basal rosette about 2cm in diameter and have hairs arising from raised 'pimples'. They may or may not have toothed edges.

The small, white flowers are grouped atop a leafless stem arising from the basal rosette and start to appear in April. They open in the morning with four, deeply notched petals and close in the evening.
After self-pollination the seeds are ripe by the end of May contained in the green, flattened, oval pods.

Hoe or hand pull before flowering, remove uprooted plants if flowers or seed capsules are present. Tackle in early spring to prevent problems later.
Weedkillers to use:-
A residual herbicide should prevent germination on paths.
Paraquat, Diquat contact action gives an immediate knock-down, so it should not have time to set seed, if caught in time.

The basal rosette is similar to that of Thale Cress

Follow these links for further details on Weeds, Weed Removal and Weed Prevention.