Field chickweed Cerastium arvense, copyright Brewbooks.

Belongs within: Caryophyllaceae.

Cerastium, mouse-ear chickweeds, is a cosmopolitan genus of herbaceous plants most diverse in the northern temperate regions. Widespread species include the field chickweed C. arvense, found in both Eurasia and North America, which is a perennial species with the leaves clustered in axils on flowering stems (Hickman 1993).

Characters (from Hickman 1993): Annual or perennial, erect to mat-forming; taproot or rhizomes present. Leaf blade linear to ovate; vein 1. Inflorescence a cyme, terminal or axillary; flowers few–many, open to tightly dense; pedicels 1–36+ mm. Flower with sepals 5, 3.5–12 mm, free, lanceolate to ovate, hairy to glandular-hairy; petals 0 or 5, 2.5–15 mm, more or less 2-lobed; stamens (5)10; styles 5, 0.5–3.3 mm. Fruit a capsule, cylindrical curved in upper half; teeth 10, spreading to recurved. Seeds several–many, pale brown to reddish brown.

    |--C. alpinum CS77
    |--C. amblyodontum Colenso 1895 A61
    |--C. arvense D03
    |--C. beeringianum H93
    |    |--C. b. var. beeringianum H93
    |    `--C. b. var. capillare [incl. C. beeringianum ssp. earlei] H93
    |--C. brachypetallum H91
    |--C. dichotomum H93
    |--C. fontanum PAE98
    |    |--C. f. ssp. fontanum O88
    |    `--C. f. ssp. vulgare [incl. C. fontanum ssp. triviale] H93
    |         |--C. f. ssp. v. var. vulgare O88
    |         `--C. f. ssp. ‘triviale’ var. angustifolium O88
    |--C. glomeratum GK00
    |--C. gracile Dufour 1820 PL04
    |--C. nigrescens CS77
    |--C. semidecandrum G88
    |--C. transsilvanicum H09
    |--C. truncatulum Colenso 1893 A61
    |--C. viscosum C55
    `--C. vulgatum C55

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A61] Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand vol. 1. Indigenous Tracheophyta: Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledones. R. E. Owen, Government Printer: Wellington (New Zealand).

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In: Scott, W. B. (ed.) Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896–1899 vol. 8. Botany pp. 1–34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[GK00] Gibson, N., & G. J. Keighery. 2000. Flora and vegetation of the Byenup-Muir reserve system, south-west Western Australia. CALMScience 3 (3): 323–402.

[G88] Grubb, P. J. 1988. The uncoupling of disturbance and recruitment, two kinds of seed bank, and persistence of plant populations at the regional and local scales. Annales Zoologici Fennici 25: 23–26.

[H09] Heltmann, H. 2009. Der Königstein (Piatra Craiului), die Perle der Burzenländer Gebirge. Mauritiana 20 (3): 515–527.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[H91] Hubálek, Z. 1991. Biogeographic indication of natural foci of tick-borne infections. In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 1 pp. 255–260. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: an introductory note. In: Ohba, H., & S. B. Malla (eds) The Himalayan Plants vol. 1. The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19–46.

[PAE98] Pakeman, R. J., J. P. Attwood & J. Engelen. 1998. Sources of plants colonizing experimentally disturbed patches in an acidic grassland, in eastern England. Journal of Ecology 86: 1032–1041.

[PL04] Pohl, G., & I. Lenski. 2004. Zur Verbreitung und Vergesellschaftung von Pennisetum orientale Rich. in Nordeuböa (Griechenland) (Poaceae, Paniceae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 83 (2): 209–223.

Last updated: 1 January 2022.

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