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Sticky Mouse-ear

Cerastium glomeratum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, lawns, roadsides, sand dunes, walls, wasteland.

White, 5 petals
The most easy to identify of our Mouse-ears. The individual flowers are up to 8mm across and are deeply notched. Flowers have 5 styles and 10 stamens. The flowerheads of Sticky Mouse-ear form tightly-packed clusters. The similar-looking Common Mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum) has its flowers much more spread out.
A papery seed capsule, 8mm in diameter.
An annual flower which is very stickily hairy, all over. The small, soft leaves are oval to elliptical in shape with leaf-like bracts. Common Mouse-ear is much less hairy than this species. The leaves are often pale green. They appear in opposite pairs along the stems and are not toothed.
Other Names:
Clammy Chickweed, Clustered Mouse Ear, Clustered Mouse-ear Chickweed, Common Mouse-ear Chickweed, Large Mouse Ears, Mouse ear Chickweed, Mouse-eared Chickweed, Sticky Chickweed, Sticky Mouse-ear Chickweed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Cerastium glomeratum, commonly known as clustered mouse-ear chickweed, is a species of flowering plant in the carnation family. It is native to Europe and Asia, but has been introduced to many other parts of the world as a weed. It typically grows in disturbed areas, such as gardens and roadsides. The plant has small, white, star-shaped flowers and hairy leaves and stems. The leaves are arranged in a basal rosette. It is also considered a weed as it can grow rapidly and outcompete native plants, it can also cause problems for farmers as it can be a host for some plant pathogens.


Sticky Mouse-ear, also known as Cerastium glomeratum, is a small but fascinating plant species that belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae. This plant is native to Europe and is found in various habitats, including meadows, grasslands, woodland edges, and disturbed areas. The plant's name comes from its leaves, which are covered in tiny hairs that give them a sticky feel when touched, and the fact that they resemble the ears of a mouse.

Sticky Mouse-ear is a low-growing annual or perennial plant that typically reaches a height of 5-30 cm. The stems are thin and branching, and the leaves are oval-shaped, small, and pointed, measuring around 1-2 cm long. The plant's flowers are white and star-shaped, measuring around 1-1.5 cm in diameter, and appear in clusters at the ends of the stems from May to September.

One of the unique features of Sticky Mouse-ear is its sticky leaves. These tiny hairs, known as trichomes, cover the leaves' surface, providing the plant with protection from herbivores and insects. The stickiness also helps the plant to retain moisture and nutrients, allowing it to thrive in dry and nutrient-poor environments. Sticky Mouse-ear has also been used in traditional medicine as an astringent and to treat wounds and ulcers.

Sticky Mouse-ear is an easy plant to grow, making it a popular choice for gardeners. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade, and prefers well-drained soil. The plant is tolerant of drought and can thrive in poor soil conditions. It also self-seeds readily, making it a good choice for naturalized gardens.

In terms of its ecological value, Sticky Mouse-ear is an important source of food for various insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths. Its white flowers are highly attractive to these pollinators, making it a valuable plant for maintaining biodiversity in the ecosystem.

Sticky Mouse-ear has also been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It was believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and was used to treat wounds, burns, and ulcers. The plant's leaves were crushed and applied to the affected area to reduce inflammation and promote healing. It was also used to treat sore throats, coughs, and other respiratory ailments.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Sticky Mouse-ear has also been used for culinary purposes. The plant's leaves have a slightly bitter taste and can be used as a substitute for spinach or lettuce in salads or as a cooked green. The young shoots can also be eaten raw or cooked, and the plant's flowers can be used as a garnish.

Sticky Mouse-ear has been introduced to many parts of the world, including North America, where it has become an invasive species. The plant can quickly colonize disturbed areas, forming dense mats that can outcompete native plant species. In some areas, it has become a significant agricultural pest, reducing crop yields and increasing the cost of weed control.

Despite its invasive potential, Sticky Mouse-ear is still an essential plant in its native range, providing valuable ecosystem services such as soil stabilization, erosion control, and biodiversity conservation. Efforts are being made to manage its spread in non-native areas and to promote its conservation in its native range.

Sticky Mouse-ear also has a rich cultural history. In European folklore, the plant was believed to have magical properties and was used in various rituals and superstitions. In some cultures, it was believed that carrying a piece of Sticky Mouse-ear would protect one from evil spirits, while in others, it was believed that the plant could help in matters of love and romance.

In modern times, Sticky Mouse-ear has been used in horticulture for its ornamental value. Its low-growing habit and delicate white flowers make it a popular choice for rock gardens, border edges, and as a groundcover. It is also used in green roof systems and other sustainable landscaping practices, where its ability to thrive in harsh environments makes it an ideal plant.

Sticky Mouse-ear's stickiness is also of interest to scientists, who are studying the plant's trichomes for potential applications in materials science and engineering. The tiny hairs on the leaves have unique adhesive properties that allow them to stick to a variety of surfaces, making them a potential source of inspiration for the development of new adhesives and coatings.

Sticky Mouse-ear is also an important source of food for various animals, including insects, small mammals, and birds. The plant's flowers produce nectar that attracts a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The seeds are also eaten by birds such as finches and sparrows, while the plant's leaves provide a food source for caterpillars of various butterfly and moth species.

Sticky Mouse-ear's ability to thrive in harsh environments makes it an important species for ecological restoration and reclamation projects. It is often used to stabilize soil on disturbed sites, such as mining areas, road cuts, and construction sites, where it can help prevent erosion and soil loss. The plant's shallow root system also makes it useful for preventing soil compaction and improving soil quality.

Sticky Mouse-ear's ecological and cultural significance highlight the importance of preserving and protecting this plant species. In some areas, the plant is threatened by habitat loss, overgrazing, and other human activities. Conservation efforts are needed to ensure the survival of Sticky Mouse-ear and the many benefits it provides to the natural world and human society.

In conclusion, Sticky Mouse-ear is a plant with many interesting and valuable features. Its ecological, cultural, and economic significance make it an important species to study, conserve, and protect. As we continue to explore the many benefits of this plant species, we can gain a greater appreciation for the complex relationships between plants, animals, and the environment, and the role that each species plays in maintaining the health and wellbeing of our planet.


Sticky Mouse-ear filmed in various locations in April 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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