Cerastium fontanum

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Cerastium fontanum
Gewone hoornbloem R0019823.JPG
Scientific classification
C. fontanum
Binomial name
Cerastium fontanum

Cerastium fontanum, also called mouse-ear chickweed, common mouse-ear, or starweed, is a species of mat-forming perennial or, rarely, annual plant. It is native to Europe but introduced elsewhere. Its identifying characteristics are tear-shaped leaves growing opposite one another in a star pattern, hairy leaves, and small white flowers. Mouse-ear chickweed typically grows to 4"-8" tall and spreads horizontally along the ground via the formation of roots wherever the stem falls over and contacts the ground. [1][2]


Cerastium fontanum is a low growing plant covered with small hairs which are not sticky, that is, without glandular tips. The erect flowering stems up to 45 cm long and leaves, opposite, up to 20 mm long without stalks. It has prostrate branches which do not bear flowers. The petals are shorter than the sepals or a little longer and are deeply divided. The flowers have 10 stamens with 5 styles.[3][4]


It is common in grassland and along roadsides.[3]


It is common throughout Great Britain[3] and Ireland.[5]


Cerastium is derived from the Greek word for 'horned', in reference to the shape of its fruit capsule.[6]

Fontanum means 'of fountains', 'of springs', or 'of fast-running streams'. It is a cognate with 'fountain' and 'font'.[6]


  1. ^ http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242000274
  2. ^ http://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=display&classid=CEFO2
  3. ^ a b c Calpham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968. Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-04656-4
  4. ^ Parnell, J and Curtis, T. 2012. Webb's An Irish Flora. Cork University Press ISBN 978-185918-4783
  5. ^ Scannell and Synnott, D. 1972. Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland. Dublin
  6. ^ a b Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 99, 169