[The Chickweeds of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear

Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum

Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum

Flower of Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

A close-up of the flower of field chickweed. Note the prominent lines (somewhat transparent) which run the much of the length of the petals as well as the deeply notched petal tips.

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)The photo at right represents field chickweed as seen at Crown Point in the western Columbia River Gorge in late May, 2001.
Characteristics:

Field chickweed is a highly variable perennial with spreading or trailing stems which can form loose mats from 20-40 cm wide. The herbage is variable, ranging from smooth or non-hairy to copiously glnadular-hairy. The numerous flowering stems range from 5-50 cm long. The leaves are mostly linear to narrowly lanceolate in shape with one central vein. They range from 1-3 cm long. The leaves of the sterile shoots or trailing stems may range from narrowly oblong to oblong-ovate in shape and may be up to 3-4 mm wide. The leaves of the mid-stem typically have secondaryleaves or short sterile shoots in their axils.

The inflorescence is an open cyme, typically with more than 5 flowers. The racts directly below the inflorescence typically have margins that are thin, dry and chaffy in texture and which are not green in color. The 5 sepals range from 4-6 mm long and are covered with some glandular hairs. The white petals are twice the length of the sepals and are deeply notched at their tips.


Habitat:

Field chickweed may be found on coastal bluffs, inland prairies and grasslands, rocky hillsides, and in subalpine and alpine habitats. In some areas it may be considered a weedy species.


Range:

Field chickweed is a widespread species across the world. It may be found in Eurasia, North America, and possibly in South America. In North America it may be found across Canada and south across the Pacific Northwest to California and south through the Rocky Mts. to New Mexico and along the east coast to Georgia.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 100'-4700' from Crown Point in the west east towards Hood River, OR.


Stem leaf of Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Stem leaf of field chickweed. Note the prominent central vein running the length of the leaf.

Uses:

Field chickweed is an appropriate species for rock gardens, the front of a garden border, among flagstones along a path. The sprawling mats are covered with white flowers from mid-spring until early summer. The herbage looks ragged after seeding however and should be cut back at that time. It evidently stays neater in appearance with summer water, but good drainage should be provided.


Flower of Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum) - Calyx of Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum) - Flower of Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Close-up details of the flowers and sepals of field chickweed as seen at Crown Point in the western Columbia River Gorge..........May 18, 2009.

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Field chickweed blooming high on Hardy Ridge, Beacon Rock State Park..........May 14, 2014.

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Field chickweed growing amongst red clover (Trifolium pratense) and non-native grasses as seen at Crown Point in the western Columbia River Gorge...........May 18, 2009.

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum) - Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Field chickweed blooming along the Grassy Knoll Trail #146 atop Grassy Knoll, Gifford Pinchot National Forest..........May 15, 2015.

Close-up of a flower of Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum) - Close-up of a flower of Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Additional close-up images of the flowers of field chickweed as seen along the Wahclella Falls Trail, Columbia River Gorge...........May 7, 2013.

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Field chickweed blooming atop Grassy Knoll, Gifford Pinchot National Forest.........June 3, 2014.

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Field chickweed blooming on mossy slopes just east of Starvation Creek, Columbia River Gorge.........May 5, 2014.

Field Chickweed, Field Mouse Ear: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum (Synonym: Cerastium arvense ssp. maximum)

Field chickweed blooming along the upper trail to McCord Creek, western Columbia River Gorge..........April 22, 2015.

Paul Slichter