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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Mouse-eared Chickweed

Scientific Name: Cerastium fontanum Baumg. subsp. vulgare

Other Names: céraiste vulgaire, céraiste commun, Cerastium vulgatum L.

Family: Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae)

General Description: Annual or more usually perennial. Reproducing by seed and by horizontal stems which root at the nodes and form dense patches.

Habitat: Mouse-eared chickweed is common throughout Ontario and occurs in almost any kind of habitat including gardens, lawns, fields, pastures, meadows, wet depressions, rock outcrops, dry sandy areas, and under moist woods. It is one of the most common and persistent weeds of lawns and occasionally is thick enough to be troublesome in gardens and fields.



  • Nearly prostrate
  • As much as 50 cm (20 in.) long
  • Short upright branches, or stems erect if growing amongst taller plants
  • Densely but very finely hairy
  • Soft
  • Often slightly sticky to the touch
  • Dark green
  • Round in cross-section with swollen nodes
  • Stems rooting from nodes which touch the ground, plant spreading by this means to form dense, matted patches


  • Opposite (2 per node)
  • Stalkless
  • Blades ovate (1- 2 cm, 2/5- 4/5 in. long)
  • Covered with hair up to 2 mm (1/12 in.) long (hence the name "mouse-eared")


  • White, in compact groups or spreading out with long branches and flower stalks up to 12 mm (½ in.) long
  • Sepals 5, green, hairy, (about as long as the 5 white, deeply notched petals)
  • Seedpod cylindrical and straight or slightly curved, 8-10mm long, light or straw-coloured
  • Seedpod tip splits into 10 small teeth and releasing many, tiny, reddish-brown, roundish to 4-sided seeds about 0.75mm long
  • Flowering and seed-set continue from late spring until freeze-up in autumn.

Often Confused With
It is distinguished from other chickweeds, Grass-leaved stitchwort and Thyme-leaved sandwort by its distinctly hairy stem and stalkless leaves covered with long hair on both surfaces, and its cylindrical, light-coloured seedpods.


Management approaches should be focused on preventing flowering and seed set. Cultivation should be done early and is more effective when the soil is dry. Cultivation after plants are large can spread the weed due to cut stems re-rooting. A variety of chemical control options are available to control mouse-eared chickweed. The best options for control are tribenuron/thifensulfuron (Refine SG) and dichlorprop/2,4-D (e.g. Estaprop Plus) or spot applications of glyphosate when small depending on the crop.


Mouse-eared chickweed flowerMouse-eared chickweedMouse-eared chickweed seedling Mouse-eared chickweed stem
Click to enlarge.