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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 5 | Caryophyllaceae | Cerastium

19. Cerastium nutans Rafinesque, Précis Découv. Somiol. 36. 1814.

Nodding mouse-ear chickweed, céraiste penché

Plants annual, slender, finely glandular-pubescent (often per-ennial and tomentose in var. obtectum), with slender taproot. Stems erect, simple or branched at or near base, sometimes with straggling, nonflowering basal shoots, 10-50 cm, softly pubes-cent, often with a few long, flex-uous, woolly hairs at proximal nodes, glandular and somewhat viscid distally; small axillary tufts of leaves usually absent. Leaves marcescent or not, sessile; blade oblanceolate to spatulate in proximal leaves, becoming lanceolate to linear-lanceolate in distal leaves, occasionally elliptic, 10-60 × 3-15 mm, apex acuminate to acute, softly pubescent and glandular, sometimes tomentose. Inflorescences rather open, 3-21(-40)-flowered cymes, ultimately widely branched; bracts herbaceous, lanceolate, glandular-pubescent. Pedicels ascending, sharply deflexed at apex in fruit, 5-20(-35) mm, usually 1-3 times as long as sepals in flower, elongating to 5 times as long as sepals in fruit, longer than capsules, glandular-pubescent and viscid. Flowers: sepals ovate-lanceolate, 4-6 mm, outer sepals herbaceous or with narrow margins, inner with margins ca. as wide as herbaceous center, apex broadly acute to obtuse, glandular-puberulent, hairs shorter than sepal tips; petals oblanceolate, sometimes absent, 3-6(-8) mm, shorter to 1.5 times longer than sepals, apex 2-fid; stamens 10; styles 5. Capsules cylindric, curved, (9-)10-12(-13) mm, 2-3 times as long as sepals; teeth 10, erect, margins convolute. Seeds golden brown, 0.5-0.8 mm diam., shallowly tuberculate; testa not inflated. 2n = 34, 36.

Varieties 2 (2 in the flora): North America, Mexico.

1 Leaves not marcescent, long, woolly pubescence confined to proximal nodes   19a var. nutans
+ Leaves tending to be marcescent, leaves and stem with long, woolly pubescence   19b var. obtectum


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