This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek for horn, alluding to the shape of the pod). Caryophyl-laceas. Mouse-Ear Chick-weed. Decumbent annuals or perennials, used in rockeries or for bedding and borders.
Pubescent or hirsute herbs, rarely glaucous: leaves small, opposite, entire: flowers white, borne in terminal, dichotomous cymes; sepals 5, rarely 4; petals as many, emarginate or 2-cleft; stamens 10, rarely fewer; styles 5, rarely 4 or 3, opposite the sepals: caps, cylindric, often curved, dehiscing at the top by 10, rarely 8, teeth. - About 100 species of world-wide distribution according to the largest delimitation of the genus; by some authorities reduced to 40 or 50 species.
Cerastiums are of easy culture in ordinary garden soil. They are propagated by divisions or by cuttings taken after flowering and planted in a shady place. They are more or less used for edgings and in rockeries.
a. Leaves green, merely pubescent.
(variety oblongifolium, Holl. & Brit.). Starry Grasswort. Fig. 876. Perennial, low, much branched and matted: stems 8-12 in. long: leaves oblong or lanceolate, pale green, pubescent, obtuse, 1/2- 1 1/2 in. long, 1/4in. wide: flowers very numerous, appearing in Apr. and May; petals 5, deeply bifid: caps, twice as long as the calyx. - A species of very wide range, growing mostly in dry rocky places from Labrador to Alaska and south to Ga. and Calif.; also in Asia and Eu. Gn. 71, p. 504. - Recommended as a bedding plant, for its mat-like habit, covered with white bloom. variety com-pactum, Hort., is hardy in S. E. Canada.
Fig. 876. Cerastium arvense.
Perennial, hairy, pubescent, cespitose, about 4 in. high: lower leaves oblong, narrowed into the petiole; upper leaves linear-lanceolate: cymes dichotomous or often simply umbelliform; flowers white; petals twice as long as calyx, ovate-oblong: caps, cylindric, twice as long as calyx. Asia Minor. - Hardy.
aa. Leaves silvery or grayish.
b. Caps, equaling the calyx.
Waldst. & Kit. (C argenteum, Bieb.). Creeping perennial: leaves linear, acute, the margins reflexed: infloresence dichotomous; flower-stems 6-8 in. high; petals oval, 2-parted, transparent white, twice as long as calyx. E. Eu.
bb. Caps, much longer than the calyx.
Biebersteinii, DC. Perennial: stems 6 in., creeping, diffuse, branched: leaves ovate-lanceolate, tomentose-woolly: peduncles erect, dichotomous; flowers white: caps, ovate-cylindrical. Tauria. B.M. 2782. Gn. 59, p. 470. -Like C. tomentosum, but with larger leaves Fine for edgings.
Boissieri, Gren. Perennial, low: leaves silvery, ovate-lanceolate, acute, entire, sessile: pedimcles 4-12 in. high; infloresence a dichotomous cyme; flowers large, white. Spain.
Linn. Snow-in-Sttmmer. Perennial, low, creeping, branched: leaves oblong, spatulate, grayish woolly, upper leaves lanceolate: peduncles 6 in. high, erect, dichotomous; flowers white: caps, cylindrical. Eu. G. 29:555. Gn. 69, p. 143. - Much used for edgings.
E. Z. B.†