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Corrigiola, strapwort, a simple wildflower for rocky ground

Tiny Corrigiola flowers, stem and leaves, also called strapwort, in sandy soil.

Strapwort, also called Corrigiola, is a small plant that grows in rocky wilderness.

Simple strapwort facts

NameCorrigiola species
Type – perennial ground cover

Exposure – full sun
Soil type – poor, well-draining
Height – 2-6 inches (5-15 cm)

Flowering – spring and summer

Though not a strikingly beautiful plant, it flowers in a cute manner and is said to have certain therapeutic properties.

How to plant and care for strapwort

This plant essentially fends for its own when given space. It will cover rocky terrain even when there isn’t much soil on it.

  • Drainage is important since this plant won’t grow well in water-logged areas
  • Broadcast sowing of seeds is a quick way to get this plant started
  • It’s also possible to sow seeds in a nursery and transplant the strapwort plugs when they’re a few inches big.

It thrives in sandy soil that drains very well. Strapwort isn’t hardy at all.

Corrigiola varieties and types of strapwort

Four main varieties can be found, essentially around the Mediterranean area in countries such as Spain, Southern France and Italy on the Northern coast and Morocco and Tunisia on the Southern coast:

  • Corrigiola imbricata
  • Corrigiola litoralis – blooms from June to September, does better in moist but well-draining sandy riverbanks.
  • Corrigiola telephiifolia – does well in rocky and dry terrain. Unlike C. litoralis, flower stalks also bear leaves.
  • Corrigiola verticillata

Corrigiola litoralis is more common in Europe, reaching up to the United Kingdom (where it is now an endangered species), whereas Corrigiola telephiifolia is more common in Northern Africa.

Strapwort or Corrigiola health benefits

Dried strapwort root is a traditional remedy in Morocco, among others for cosmetics. In North Africa, Corrigiola is called “Sarghina“. Folk use for Corrigiola includes treating for the flu, cough, jaundice and certain skin problems. Normal strapwort use has been proven to not be toxic, but at higher doses risks appear, so don’t exceed doses recommended by traditional practice.

When in powder form, Corrigiola burns much like incense. Strapwort releases a pleasant scent in incense burners.

Note: Corrigiola is distinct and different from Saponaria (commonly called soapwort), another similar-looking plant that is used to make soap.

Learn more about strapwort

This rather resilient plant comes from the same family as Dianthus, but Corrigiola flowers are almost exclusively white. Leaves are blue-green in color.

It crawls along the ground like Portulaca or purslane, but develops roots that are much stronger and more woody, typical of a taproot-like plant.

The flowers are truly tiny, sometimes no larger than an eighth of an inch (2-4 mm) across. They’re clustered in small fingernail-sized panicles.

Smart tip about strapwort Corrigiola

Strapwort is a slow grower. Remove neighboring weeds often or it will quickly be crowded out by fast-growing weeds!

Use mineral mulch to cover the ground around it and keep new weeds from popping up.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Corrigiola strapwort flower by Len Worthington ★ under © CC BY-SA 2.0

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