Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Cerastium fontanum subsp. vulgare
(Hartm.) Greuter & Burdet, Caryophyllaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Cerastium caespitosum Gilib. ex Asch.; Cerastium fontanum subsp. triviale (Spenn.) Jalas; Cerastium holosteoides Fr.; Cerastium triviale Link; Cerastium vulgare Hartm. (and Cerastium vulgare auct.)

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: cu sheng quan juan er

English: big chickweed, common mouse-ear chickweed, mouse-ear chickweed

French: céraiste commun

Habit:  herb


Cerastium fontanum Baumgarten:  "Plants perennial (rarely annual), tufted to mat-forming, often rhizomatous. Flowering stems erect from decumbent base, branched proximally, 10-45 cm, softly pubescent, eglandular with straight hairs; nonflowering shoots, when present, produced proximally, decumbent, rooting at nodes, branched, 5-20 cm, often subglabrous with alternating lines of eglandular hairs; small axillary tufts of leaves usually absent. Leaves not marcescent; blade 10-25 (-40) x 3-8 (-12) mm, densely covered with patent to ascending, colorless, long, eglandular hairs; leaves of flowering shoots in distant pairs, sessile, blade elliptic to ovate-oblong, apex subacute; leaves of sterile shoots pseudopetiolate, often spatulate, blade oblanceolate, apex obtuse. Inflorescences lax, 3-50-flowered cymes; bracts lanceolate, reduced, herbaceous, eglandular-pubescent, distal often with narrow, scarious margins. Pedicels somewhat curved distally, 2-10 (-20) mm, longer than sepals, densely pubescent with patent, eglandular, rarely glandular hairs. Flowers: sepals ovate-lanceolate, 5-7 mm, margins narrow, apex acute, scarious, pubescent with eglandular, rarely glandular, hairs; petals oblanceolate, 1-1.5 times as long as sepals, apex deeply 2-fid; stamens 10, occasionally 5; styles 5. Capsules narrowly cylindric, curved, 9-17 mm, ca. 2 times sepals; teeth 10, erect, margins convolute. Seeds reddish brown, 0.4-1.2 mm, bluntly tuberculate; testa not inflated, tightly enclosing seed"

subsp. vulgare:  "Plants perennial (very rarely annual). Inflorescences usually eglandular, occasionally viscid and glandular. Petals equaling sepals. Capsules 9-13 mm. Seeds 0.4-0.9 mm; tubercles small"  (Flora of North America online).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i, "naturalized in usually wet to sometimes dry, disturbed habitats, 0-3,900 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 503).  In North America, "A common weed in grassy places: lawns, roadsides, pastures, open woodlands, wastelands; 0-3000 m"  (Flora of North America online).  In China, "Forest margins, mountain slopes, hilltop grasslands, fields, sandy soils, rock crevices, roadsides; 100-2300 m"  (Flora of China online).  In New Zealand, "tussock grassland and pasture, waste places, roadsides, riverbeds, swamps, scrub, shingle slides, lake shores, sand dunes, stream banks"  (Webb et al., 1988; p. 479).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Canary and Madeira Islands, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Russian Federation, Europe; exact native range obscure; naturalized throughout temperate regions (GRIN)

Control:  If you know of control methods for Cerastium fontanum subsp. vulgare, please let us know.

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This page was created on 8 FEB 2011 and was last updated on 30 MAR 2011.