South Dakota Native Plant Research
Celastraceae: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum

Celastraceae: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum


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Family Name


Common Name

Prairie chickweed, Field chickweed


Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum is a sprawling, mat-forming perennial herb, the flowering stems erect, 5-30 cm tall, with short simple to glandular hairs throughout. The small, simple, opposite, entire leaves are linear to narrowly oblong, 7-30 mm long and 1-5 mm wide on the flowering branches and generally smaller on the sprawling lateral branches. The inflorescence consists of terminal cymes with a 1-20 flowers on pedicels 5-30 mm long that generally curve downward as they age. The 5 green lance-elliptic sepals are 4-6 mm long and covered with glandular hairs. The petals are 1.5 to 2 times as long as the sepals, deeply cleft, white with grayish streaks and a yellowish throat. There are 10 stamens and 5 styles on the ovary. The fruit is initially a globose capsule that becomes cylindrical, 6-10 mm long when ripe. Prairie chickweed blooms from June to August in prairies, pastures and meadows in the northeastern corner and western edge of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Prairie chickweed low-growing ground cover that forms a blanket of white flowers in mid to late spring, forming cascades over a wall or growing between rocks. The plants will easily self-seed in the garden and have the potential to spread rapidly, invading lawns and gardens.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Collect capsules in June through August. Mature capsules open at the end.

Germination: The seeds need not pretreatment before planting and can be fall or spring sown.

Vegetative propagation: Mature plants can be divided in the spring.

Light: Full sun to light shade.

Soil: Sandy to rocky well drained soils. Rich soils encourage aggressive growth.

Water: Medium dry to dry.

Celastraceae: Cerastium arvense ssp. strictum