Cerastium maximum


Sp. Pl. 1: 439. 1753.

Common names: Great mouse-ear chickweed
Synonyms: Dichodon maximus (Linnaeus) Á. Löve & D. Löve
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 5. Treatment on page 87. Mentioned on page 74, 75.

Plants perennial, subrhizomatous. Stems simple, or few together, erect or ascending, 20–70 cm, proximal internodes moderately pilose, becoming glandular distally; nonflowering, axillary branches usually present; small axillary tufts of leaves absent. Leaves sessile, not marcescent; blade narrowly lanceolate, with prominent midrib, 0.2–1 × 3–12 mm, apex acuminate, ± pubescent on both surfaces, short-ciliate. Inflorescences open or congested, usually 3–10-flowered cymes; bracts normally lanceolate, acuminate, herbaceous, pubescent. Pedicels erect, 2–25(–60) mm, usually ca. 2 times as long as sepals in fruit, glandular-pubescent. Flowers large, conspicuous, more than 2 cm diam.; sepals lanceolate, 8–11(–12) mm, outer sepal margins herbaceous, inner sepal margins narrow, membranous, apex acute, moderately to sparsely glandular-hairy; petals obovate, (15–)18–25 mm, at least 2 times as long as sepals, apex deeply 2-fid; stamens 10; styles 5. Capsules narrowly conic, straight, 15–22 mm, ca. 2 times as long as sepals; teeth 10, erect, short, becoming outwardly coiled. Seeds yellowish brown, round, 2–2.5 mm diam., finely rugose in concentric rings; testa not inflated. 2n = 38.

Phenology: Flowering summer.
Habitat: Open woods, gravel bars, terraces by rivers
Elevation: 0-1200 m


V5 180-distribution-map.gif

N.W.T., Yukon, Alaska, Asia.


This beautiful species is distinguished by its long, narrowly conic capsule with teeth that coil outward like a watch spring.

Selected References


Lower Taxa