Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wednesday wildflower: annual mouse-ear chickweed

There's mouse-ear (Myosotis) and there's mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium).  True chickweeds are Stellaria, which isn't particularly hairy, but the mouse-ear chickweeds are furry like Myosotis, or like a mouse's ear.  They're not related to Myosotis however, in spite of their superficially similar leaves.
Cerastium glomeratum, Karori, Wellington.
This one is very common.  It's the annual mouse-ear chickweed, C. glomeratum.  Its leaves have green edges (some of the other species have scarious—thin, dry, almost translucent—edges to at least the uppermost leaves) and hairs overtop the apex of the sepals.  The flower stalks are shorter than the flowers and fruits, hence the name glomeratum, which refers to the rounded cluster of flowers.  

We have five species naturalised in New Zealand.  C. arvense (below) has larger flowers, and is often established on limestone.
Cerastium arvense, Cass, Canterbury.

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