field mouse-ear chickweed

(Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum)

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

field mouse-ear chickweed
Photo by Dan W. Andree

Field mouse-ear chickweed is a common, native, forb. It occurs throughout the United States and southern Canada north to Alaska, but it is mostly absent from the deep south, the Great Plains, and the Great Basin. It is found in high quality natural areas, including in prairies, woodland openings, and tundra, and on lake shores and dunes. It is also found in man-made or disturbed (anthropogenic) habitats, including meadows, fields, and roadsides. It grows under full or partial sun, in moist to dry, sandy, rocky, or gravelly soil.

Field mouse-ear chickweed is a 2 to 12 (5 to 30 cm) tall, perennial forb. At first, it has a vertical primary root (taproot) and forms a clump. Later, it develops a long-creeping system of tangled, short, underground, horizontal stems (rhizomes), and it forms a mat.

In the first year, it does not flower. In the early spring of the second year, it first has the appearance of a mat, with non-flowering stems laying on the ground, just their tips curving upward (decumbent). Later in the spring, one or more flowering stems appear. Flowering stems are mostly 2 to 8 (5 to 20 cm) tall, sometimes up to 11¾ (30 cm) tall, and they are erect or they curve upward at the base (ascending). They are round, green or straw colored, and usually branched near the top. The pubescence is variable, from densely hairy to entirely hairless. They are often densely covered with spreading to downward-bent, non-glandular hairs, mixed with gland-tipped hairs at the middle of the stem, with the glandular hairs becoming more dense toward the top.

The leaves are opposite, stalkless, 116 to 1 (2 to 25 mm) long, and 132 to 316 (1 to 5 mm) wide. The leaf blades are linear to narrowly lance-shaped or inversely lance-shaped. They are usually sharply pointed but sometimes blunt at the tip. The midvein is conspicuously depressed on the upper surface. The upper and lower surfaces are usually hairy. The margins are untoothed. There is often a small tuft of shorter, narrower leaves rising from lower leaf axils.

The inflorescence is a cluster or an open, branched arrangement (panicle) of up to 20 flowers. At the base of each inflorescence there is a pair of modified leaves (bracts). The bracts have thin, white to translucent margins, but they are otherwise similar to the leaves. Each flower is on a stalk (pedicel) that is to (10 to 17 mm) long, about 2 times as long as the outer floral leaves (sepals). The pedicel is curved just below the base of the flower, and it is densely covered with both glandular and non-glandular hairs.

Each flower is about ½ (12 mm) in diameter. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, 10 stamens, and 5 styles. The sepals are green, narrowly elliptic, to ¼ (3.5 to 6 mm) long, and tapered or angled to a sharp tip. They are covered with both glandular and non-glandular hairs. The petals are white, inversely egg-shaped, and ¼ to (7.5 to 9 mm) long, about twice as long as the sepals. Each petal is deeply two-lobed at the tip and has distinct, translucent veins radiating from the base. The stamens have pale yellow anthers. Their stalks (filaments) are free, not fused together.

The fruit is a slightly curved, narrowly cylinder-shaped, 516 to 716 (7.5 to 11 mm) long, 116 to (2.5 to 4 mm) wide, seed capsule. It contains 15 to 30 or more kidney-shaped seeds.



2 to 8 (5 to 20 cm)


Flower Color



Similar Species

Field chickweed (Cerastium arvense ssp. arvense)

Mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium fontanum ssp. vulgare)


Moist to dry. Full or partial sun. Prairies, woodland openings, tundra, lake shores, dunes, meadows, fields, and roadsides. Sandy, rocky, or gravelly soil.





Pests and Diseases





Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.






Common and widespread



Plantae (green algae and land plants)


Viridiplantae (green plants)


Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)


Embryophyta (land plants)


Tracheophyta (vascular plants)


Spermatophytina (seed plants)


Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)






Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)


Caryophyllaceae (pink)






Cerastium (mouse-ear chickweeds)


Cerastium arvense (field chickweed)


Subordinate Taxa




Cerastium alsophilum

Cerastium angustatum

Cerastium arvense ssp. fuegianum

Cerastium arvense var. angustifolium

Cerastium arvense var. fuegianum

Cerastium arvense var. latifolium

Cerastium arvense var. purpurascens

Cerastium arvense var. strictum

Cerastium arvense var. viscidulum

Cerastium campestre

Cerastium confertum

Cerastium effusum

Cerastium elongatum

Cerastium fuegianum

Cerastium graminifolium

Cerastium latifolium

Cerastium nitidum

Cerastium occidentale

Cerastium oreophilum

Cerastium patulum

Cerastium scopulorum

Cerastium sonnei

Cerastium strictum

Cerastium subulatum

Cerastium tenuifolium

Cerastium thermale

Cerastium vestitum


Common Names

field chickweed

field mouse-ear chickweed












Growing upward at an angle or curving upward from the base.



The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



Reclining on the ground but with the tip ascending.



On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.



On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antennae. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Visitor Photos

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Dan W. Andree

violet wood sorrel and field mouse-ear chickweed   field mouse-ear chickweed

Field Chickweed and a Prairie Violet...

This is another Field Chickweed I seen and a Prairie Violet. Photos
field mouse-ear chickweed  

field mouse-ear chickweed








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Other Videos

Cerastium arvense: Field Chickweed or Field Mouse-Ear - Acker-Hornkraut
Inkor Pank


Oct 13, 2021

The flora of Grey Hair-grass lawns on sand.

Footage from Experimental Botanical Garden in Göttingen (Germany).

Field mouse-ear (Cerastium arvense) - 2017-04-08


Apr 13, 2017

Cerastium arvense is a species of flowering plant in the pink family known by the common names field mouse-ear and field chickweed.

Geo location: 52.06426 4.21959



Visitor Sightings

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Dan W. Andree
May 2024

Location: Norman Co. Mn.

violet wood sorrel

Dan W. Andree
May 2024

Location: A prairie in Norman Co. Mn.

This is another Field Chickweed I seen and a Prairie Violet.

field mouse-ear chickweed Sightings






Created: 6/8/2024

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