Cerastium Cerastoides: Starry Chickweed Care & Info Guide

Cerastium cerastoides

Pronunciation:

Introduction

Cerastium cerastoides, commonly known as starwort mouse-ear or boreal chickweed, is a flowering plant species that belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family. It is not widely known by other common names, but it is sometimes simply referred to as mouse-ear chickweed. This plant is native to arctic and alpine regions, where it thrives in the cold, harsh environments.

Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Angiosperms
  • Class: Eudicots
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Caryophyllaceae
  • Genus: Cerastium
  • Species: C. cerastoides

Description

Cerastium cerastoides is a perennial herb known for its ability to survive in extreme conditions and its small, star-shaped flowers. It is not typically known for having significant ornamental or commercial value, but it is appreciated by botanists and plant enthusiasts for its adaptability and contribution to alpine ecosystems. It is not considered invasive or problematic.

Size

This plant is low-growing, usually reaching only a few centimeters in height, with a mat-forming habit that can spread across the ground.

Leaves

The leaves of Cerastium cerastoides are small, lanceolate to ovate, and covered with fine hairs, giving them a silvery appearance.

Flower

The flowers are white with five deeply notched petals, creating the appearance of ten petals. They are borne in small clusters and bloom in the late spring to early summer.

Fruit

The fruit is a small capsule that opens at the top to release its seeds.

Stem

The stems are slender, often reddish-brown, and covered with fine hairs.

Cultivation and Care

Planting

Plant Cerastium cerastoides in the spring or early summer in a location that mimics its natural alpine habitat.

Soil Preference

It prefers well-drained, rocky or sandy soil with low fertility.

Watering

Watering should be moderate, as the plant is adapted to alpine conditions where moisture is limited.

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Sun Requirements

Full sun to partial shade is ideal for this plant, with protection from the intense midday sun in warmer climates.

Pruning

Pruning is generally not necessary for this low-maintenance plant. If desired, after flowering, trim back the plant to remove spent blooms and encourage a compact growth habit. Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.

Propagation

Propagation is typically done by seed or by dividing the plant in the spring.

Health & Safety

There are no known toxic or poisonous parts of Cerastium cerastoides to humans, dogs, or cats. The plant is not thorny, spiky, and does not cause contact dermatitis or pose other dangers.

Pests and Problems

Cerastium cerastoides is generally free from serious pests and diseases. However, it may occasionally suffer from common issues that affect many plants, such as root rot in overly wet conditions or infestations of aphids. Proper care and monitoring can help prevent these problems.

Caresheet Data

General Information

Plant Name:cerastium cerastoides
Etymology:Genus: Cerastium – From the Greek “keras,” meaning “horn,” possibly referring to the shape of the seed capsule.
Species: cerastoides – From the Greek “-oides,” meaning “resembling,” indicating its similarity to plants in the genus Cerastium.
Common Name:Starwort Mouse-ear
Genus:Cerastium
Species:cerastoides
Family:Caryophyllaceae

Plant Characteristics

Height:2-6 in / 0.17-0.5 ft / 5-15 cm / 0.05-0.15 m
Width and Spread:10-30 cm / 0.33-0.98 ft / 10-30 cm / 0.1-0.3 m
Plant Type:Perennial
Habit/Form:Perennial, mat-forming herb
Leaf Type:Simple, opposite, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate
Leaf Arrangement:Opposite
Leaf Shape:Linear-lanceolate
Leaf Margin:Entire
Leaf Color:Green
Fragrance:No fragrance reported.
Stem Description:Slender, creeping, branched, often forming mats.
Stem Is Aromatic:No
Texture:Pubescent
Leaf Feel:Pubescent
Leaf Length:1-3 cm
Leaf Description:Linear to lanceolate, hairy, 6-20 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, with a single vein.
Hairs Present:Yes

Cultivation

Light Requirements:Full sun to partial shade
Soil Preference:Well-drained, sandy or gravelly soil; tolerates poor soil.
Water Requirements:Moderate moisture; well-drained soil.
Fertilizer Requirements:Well-drained soil with moderate fertility; light feeding in spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.
Pruning Requirements:Minimal; deadhead after flowering to maintain appearance and prevent self-seeding.
Seed Germination Time:14-30 days
Display/Harvest Time:June to August
Fruit/Seed Production:Fruit
Growth Rate:Slow to moderate
Growth Habit:Mat-forming perennial
Root System Type:Fibrous root system
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Flower and Fruit Information

Fruit Type:Not applicable (cerastium cerastoides is not a fruit-bearing plant).
Fruit Description:Capsule, cylindrical, slightly curved, opening by 10 short teeth.
Flower Color:White
Flower Shape:Stellate (star-shaped)
Flower Inflorescence:Solitary or in loose cymes
Flowering Season:June to August
Bloom Duration:4-6 weeks

Tolerance and Hardiness

Drought Tolerance:Moderate
Frost Tolerance:-15°C to -20°C
Heat Tolerance:Not well-documented; alpine species typically sensitive to prolonged high temperatures.
Wind Tolerance:Moderate
Shade Tolerance:High
Salt Tolerance:Moderate
Soil Compaction Tolerance:Low
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones:3-7
Photoperiod Sensitivity:Not photoperiod sensitive

Wildlife and Landscape

Pollinator Attraction:Cerastium cerastoides attracts bees and flies.
Wildlife Value:Cerastium cerastoides provides nectar and pollen for insects.
Problematic Insects:Aphids, slugs
Allelopathic Properties:No
Habitat Enhancement:Cerastium cerastoides stabilizes soil, provides nectar and pollen for insects, and contributes to plant diversity.
Erosion Control Potential:Low to moderate
Landscape Location:Alpine and subalpine zones, rocky slopes
Landscape Theme:Alpine Garden, Rock Garden, Ground Cover, Cottage Garden
Design Feature:Cerastium cerastoides, commonly used as ground cover or rock garden plant due to its mat-forming habit and white flowers.
Ethnobotanical Significance:Traditional medicine for treating wounds and as a diuretic.
Naturalization Ability:Low to moderate
Companion Planting Suitability:Suitable for alpine gardens, rockeries, and as ground cover; compatible with other alpine plants like Sedum, Sempervivum, and low-growing Phlox.

Health and Safety

Edibility:No verified information on edibility.
Edible Parts:Leaves, flowers
Toxicity:No
Poison Parts of Plant:No parts of Cerastium cerastoides are known to be poisonous.
Toxic to Humans:No.
Toxic to Cats:No
Toxic to Dogs:No.
Causes Contact Dermatitis:No known evidence.
Air Purification Qualities:No known air purification qualities.
Medicinal Properties:Not well-documented for medicinal use
Thorniness or Spikiness:No

Sources and Additional Reading

  1. Cerastium cerastoides (L.) Britton – World Flora Online (www.worldfloraonline.org)
  2. Cerastium cerastoides | starwort chickweed /RHS Gardening (www.rhs.org.uk)
  3. Cerastium cerastoides – USDA Plants Database (plants.usda.gov)
  4. Cerastium cerastoides – Wikiwand (www.wikiwand.com)
  5. Cerastium cerastoides – Wikiwand (www.wikiwand.com)
  6. Cerastium cerastoides (L.) Britton – GBIF (www.gbif.org)
  7. Medicinal plants of the family Caryophyllaceae: a review of ethno … (www.sciencedirect.com)
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