Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Plant of the Week: Field Chickweed (Cerastrum arvense)

Field chickweed or Field Mouse-ear has to be one of my favorite native ground covers for full sun to part-sun locations.It loves dry, often gravelly soils, spreads slowly, rarely gets above 8" tall, usually no more than 6", has a delicate baby's breath appearance,   It has large flowers for a chickweed and should not be confused with those obnoxious exotic species mouse-eared chickweed.  It is a member of the pink family which includes other species such as fire pink, etc.  This species can easily be confused with the exotic, invasive mouse-eared chickweed although if you closely look at the plants you will find that this species has longer, more narrow hairy leaves that are a darker green whereas the exotic species has more round leaves.  In addition, this species has much larger, showier flowers and is a larger plant.  It is not that common in Kentucky but occurs pretty much across the United States and is available at specialty nurseries. The flowers are up to almost an inch wide, have 5 regular parts and the petals are usually strongly cleft (or pinked).  It gets the scientific name from Cerastium from the Greek keras "a horn" which means the shape of seed capsulte and arvense which means of planted fields.  This would be a great plant to use with starry cleft phlox, some of the small (tiny) glade scutellarias like S. parvula or S. nervosa.  You might even add a little wild strawberry into the mix.  This species is usually restricted to limestone in Kentucky but from the literature it does not indicate it is a limestone specific species and will tolerate a variety of soil types as long as it is well-drained.  Most of the nurseries that sell this plant are located in the western United States because it is more common out there.  Give it a try, I think you will really enjoy it because it flowers in the spring and will stay in flower for a month or so.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome image. Thank you for consistently sending the one thing that makes me smile when I see the e-mail subject line Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife. Keep them coming and thanks Again. Win Dunwell