Mouse-ear Chickweed

Mouse-ear Chickweed
Common Mouse-ear Chickweed. Cerastium fontanum, formerly C. vulgatum.
Caryophyllaceae, the pink family.

Plant: Low, spreading to upright plant, 6"-18", with small, white flowers with deeply notched petals and small fuzzy leaves. Perennial.
Flowers: Small, white, about 1/4", with five, deeply notched petals, that might appear to be ten on casual examination, ten stamens, and usually five styles. The petals are approximately the same length as the sepals. Flowers organized in loose, terminal clusters (cymes).
Leaves: Opposite, about 1/2" long, ovate or elliptic, with smooth margins. Both leaves and stems densely covered with fine hairs.
Fruit: A dry, vase-like, cylindrical capsule with ten small points at the end.
Blooming: May-September
Habitat: Fields, lawns, roadsides, and waste places.

Comments: One of several similar mouse-ear chickweeds, this European introduction takes its name from the fuzzy leaves. The true chickweeds (genus Stellaria) are often less hairy, and have longer petals; technically they are distinguished by having three rather than five styles and by having ovoid rather than cylindrical seed capsules. The plant is a common weed in lawns. The leaves are supposedly edible, boiled and eaten as a potherb. The small size and hairiness might be a drawback.

Where to find it: Common in lawns and adjacent areas throughout the park.