Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Shortstalk Chickweed - Cerastium brachypodum   (Engelmann ex A. Gray) B.L. Robinson
Members of Caryophyllaceae:
Members of Cerastium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Caryophyllales » Family Caryophyllaceae
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Author(Engelmann ex A. Gray) B.L. Robinson
DistributionVery poorly known, a few collections in the Mountains and Piedmont foothills. This recent addition to the state's flora needs more data to be sure of the range in the state. In fact, Weakley (2018) states "This taxon is perhaps only introduced in our area from farther west", as most records are from disturbed places.

This is a widespread species over the continent, mainly east to the Mississippi River, and scattered across KY, TN, parts of VA and NC, and to GA.
AbundanceCurrently must be considered as very rare to rare in the Mountains and western Piedmont, despite only 4 counties of collections so far. The website editors strongly suggest that the species be considered as a Watch List species, with a State Rank of S1? (instead of S1), as so little is known about it. This might not be a native species in NC, but for now, the editors will leave the records as Natural Occurrence.
HabitatIn NC, it occurs along roadsides, fields, meadows, and other open and disturbed places.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis species had often been considered as a variety of Cerastium nutans, but most current references consider it as a good species. Like that species, it is mostly leaning, to about 10-12 inches long, with scattered paired stem leaves that are opposite. This differs from the other in that the leaves are mostly narrowly elliptic to lanceolate but only about 1-1.5 inches long, as opposed to 1.5-2 inches long in C. nutans, and especially in the much shorter flower stalks. In this species, the stalks are about as long as the sepals, no more than 1/2-inch long, whereas those in C. nutans are much longer, well over 1-inch long. Thus, in flower or in fruit, this species does not have the elegant open-flowered look of the other more numerous species. Also make sure that you rule out the many non-native Cerastium species; these have mostly long hairs on the tips of the sepals, or leaves are less than 2/3-inch long.
Taxonomic CommentsOlder references considered this as a variety of C. nutans, as var. brachypodum. Most now consider it as a good species.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1 [S1?]
Global RankG5
State Status[W7]
US Status
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