Genus of the Week
Week of May 11-17
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
This week's genus:
Cerastium: The Mouse-Ear Chickweeds
Family: Caryophyllaceae: The Carnations
Number of Species: At Least 10
Root: Greek kerastes, meaning "horn", a reference to the seed capsule.
The plants of the genus Cerastium can be found in the Northeastern United States quite
easily; simply look at someone's lawn! Several species in this genus have become common weeds,
and their tiny flowers are among the first to open in spring. The leaves of these species are
considered edible but should be boiled first.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Cerastium species:
- Texas A&M University's Agricultural Extension Service has a picture and brief description
of C. vulgatus.
- The Northern Prairie Science Center has a small picture and a decent amount of information
about C. arvense
- Here is a link to a
nicer photo of C. arvense, from the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.
- Look for C. tomentosum (Snow-in-Summer) on the list of
Fire-Resistive Landscaping Plants from the Calfornia Department of Forestry and Fire
- From the home page of Andrea O. Leone comes Virtual Sardinia, a visual trip through the
island, and a great photo of C. supramontanum
- The Weed Science Society of America has a Weed Photo Album which offers a close up view of
several growth stages of
- Forey, Pamela. Wild Flowers of North America. New York, Gallery Books: 1991.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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