Cerastium arvense (Field Chickweed)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Cerastium
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; prairies, roadsides, shores, rock outcrops
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:6 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Open cluster of 1 to 20 flowers on finely hairy stalks. Flowers are large and conspicuous compared to other chickweeds, about ½ inch across, the 5 white petals deeply notched into 2 rounded lobes with grayish streaks and yellowish at the throat. In the center are 10 stamens and 5 styles on the ovary. The 5 narrow lance-like sepals are 1/3 to half as long as the petals.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are opposite, lance-linear but sometimes more oval, ¾ to 2¾ inches long and 1/8 to ½ inch wide, toothless and stalkless, the lower leaves often with tufts of smaller leaves in the axils. Stems often matted at the base with one or more upright stems terminating in an open flower cluster. Surfaces of stems and leaves can be smooth but more often densely covered with fine short hairs, often glandular especially in the upper plant.

Notes:

Two subspecies of Cerastium arvense are found in Minnesota that look nearly identical. Subspecies strictum is native and is characterized by: a taproot or short rhizomes that form a clump of stems rarely over 8 inches tall, glandular hairs, and petals that stay white when dried. The other subspecies is arvense, a non-native that is strongly rhizomatous (spreading underground stems), with stems up to 12 inches long, the absence of glandular hairs except in the flower cluster, and petals that turn brown when dried.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Wild Ones Twin Cities Chapter

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers

More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Douglas, Lac Qui Parle, Stearns and St. Louis counties.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.



(required)




Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.