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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Corn spurry  (Spergula arvensis)

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Life stages of Corn spurry mature plant spreading habit seeds seedling flowering stem

Corn spurry is a summer or winter annual broadleaf plant. It is more common in coastal regions. In California is found on the North Coast, in the San Francisco Bay region, Central Coast, Central Valley, western South Coast Ranges, South Coast, and possibly in other areas, to about 2400 feet (730 m). It inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed locations. Leaves may contain compounds called oxalates, which can be toxic to livestock if consumed in quantity. Corn spurry seeds can survive for many years when buried in soil.


Disturbed areas, roadsides, crop fields, orchards, vineyards, gardens, landscaped areas, sand dunes, and coniferous woodland.


Seedlings are slightly fleshy. The cotyledons (seed leaves) are linear, about 2/5 of an inch (1 cm) long, fuse at their base and have a rounded tip. The first few leaves are linear, about 2/5 to 4/5 of an inch (1–2 cm) long, hairless or have short glandular hairs, and are opposite to one another along the stem. Although they resemble the first leaves, later leaves are longer and are in a whorl around the stem at the stem joints (nodes).

Mature plant

Corn spurry grows to about 20 inches (50 cm) long in an upright or spreading form and it mostly branches at the base. Its leaves are narrow, slightly fleshy, flexible, and hairless or have short glandular hairs, and sometimes is sticky to the touch. Leaves are stalkless and are arranged in whorls around the stem at the stem joints (nodes).


Flowering takes place from February through October. Small, five-petaled, white flowers on long, slender stalks cluster at the end of the flowering stem.


Fruits consists of smooth, egg-shaped capsules that are usually about 1/6 to 1/4 of an inch (4–6 mm) long.


Seeds are tiny, 1/25 to 1/12 of an inch (1–2 mm) in diameter, dull gray to black, and circular to oval lens shaped.


Reproduces by seed.

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