Cerastium vulgare Hartm.

Common Mouse-ear Chickweed

Handb. Skand. Fl. 182 (1820) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Perennial with usually fibrous roots; hairs spreading or more or less reflexed, eglandular (rarely also with sparse glandular) hairs. Stems 5–50 cm long. Leaves 10–25 mm long, 3–8 mm wide; basal leaves oblanceolate, subsessile, obtuse, often with axillary sterile shoots; stem leaves sessile, elliptic to oblong, obtuse to subacute. Inflorescence dense, becoming lax in fruit; margins of upper bracts moderately scarious. Flowers 5-merous; mature pedicels 1–2 times calyx length; calyx eglandular-pilose, sepals ovate to lanceolate, 4–7 mm long, margins narrowly scarious; petals shorter to slightly longer than sepals, c. one-third bifid; styles 5. Capsule curved, (7–)9–12 mm long; seeds reddish-brown, 0.4–0.7 mm diam., coarsely tuberculate. Flowers Nov.–Mar.

*CVU, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *MonT, *NIS, *OtR, *SnM, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP. Also naturalised WA, Qld, NSW, Tas. Native to temperate Northern Hemisphere and Africa. A common and widespread weed of cultivation, lawns and waste ground, occasionally invading natural communities.

Cerastium vulgare is very close to Cerastium fontanum, which has been recorded at Macquarie Island, and in New South Wales. However, there is no concensus of opinion between European botanists on the Cerastium fontanum complex, and it is not clear if C. fontanum is a separate taxon or should be included in C. vulgare. Cerastium holosteoides Fries has frequently been synonymized with C. fontanum subsp. triviale (= C. vulgare Hartm.) by European authors (e.g. Jalas 1963, Greuter et al. 1984), but others consider them reasonably distinct, at least at subspecific rank (e.g. Salman et al. 1977a, 1977b). All Victorian material seen so far equates closely with the latter taxon, and is placed here under the correct name for the species s. str.

Source: Adams, L.G. (1996). Caryophyllaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-12-10
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
genus Cerastium
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Cerastium vulgare in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cerastium vulgare in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present introduced
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Monaro Tablelands present naturalised
Victorian Alps present naturalised
Snowy Mountains present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory