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Dwarf Mouse-ear

Cerastium pumilum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Cliffs, fields, grassland, meadows, riverbanks, rocky places, waterside.

White, 5 petals
Flowers measure 6 to7mm in diameter. Petals are of equal length to the sepals. The 5 sepals are green and pale edged.
A long, brown, cylindrical, stalked hairy capsule. The fruits are positioned diagonally to their stems.
Oval to oblong, hairy leaves, in opposite pairs along the stems. The stems are sometimes tinted red near their bases. Similar to Common Mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum) but shorter. Annual or biennial.
Other Names:
Dwarf Mouse-ear Chickweed, European Chickweed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Cerastium pumilum, also known as dwarf mouse-ear chickweed, is a species of flowering plant in the Caryophyllaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is found in a variety of habitats including meadows, rocky places, and riverbanks. It is a small, mat-forming perennial plant with small white flowers and leaves that are covered in fine white hair. It is similar in appearance to other Cerastium species, such as Cerastium alpinum and Cerastium cerastoides. It is considered an invasive species in some area and can be difficult to control. Mouse-ear chickweed is edible and is sometimes used as a leaf vegetable or in salads.


Dwarf Mouse-ear, or Cerastium pumilum, is a small and delicate flowering plant that is native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. It is part of the family Caryophyllaceae, which also includes other popular garden plants like carnations and pinks.

The Dwarf Mouse-ear plant grows to a height of about 10-20 cm and spreads out to form a low, compact mat of foliage. The leaves are small and oval-shaped, with a silvery-green color and a soft, velvety texture. The stems are thin and wiry, with clusters of small, white flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer.

One of the unique features of the Dwarf Mouse-ear plant is its adaptability to a variety of growing conditions. It can grow in full sun or partial shade, and it is tolerant of both dry and moist soil. It is also a hardy plant that can survive in temperatures as low as -20°C.

In the wild, Dwarf Mouse-ear is commonly found in rocky and sandy areas, as well as on hillsides and in mountainous regions. It is a popular plant for rock gardens and alpine gardens, as well as for borders and edging in flower beds. It is also a good choice for groundcover in areas where other plants struggle to grow.

Caring for Dwarf Mouse-ear is relatively easy. It prefers well-draining soil and moderate moisture, so it is important not to overwater it. It also benefits from occasional fertilization, but too much fertilizer can cause the plant to become leggy and weak. Deadheading the flowers can help to promote more blooms throughout the growing season.

In terms of propagation, Dwarf Mouse-ear can be grown from seeds or by dividing mature plants in the spring or fall. It can also be propagated by taking stem cuttings in the summer.

Dwarf Mouse-ear is not only a beautiful and useful plant in the garden, but it also has some medicinal properties. The plant contains a compound called saponin, which has been shown to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In traditional medicine, Dwarf Mouse-ear has been used to treat respiratory and digestive issues, as well as skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis.

However, it is important to note that Dwarf Mouse-ear should not be ingested without consulting a healthcare professional, as the saponin can be toxic in large amounts.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Dwarf Mouse-ear has also been used in culinary applications. The leaves of the plant have a slightly bitter taste and can be added to salads or used as a garnish. They can also be brewed into a tea, which is said to have a soothing effect on the digestive system.

In terms of its ecological importance, Dwarf Mouse-ear provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. Its low-growing habit and ability to grow in a variety of conditions also make it a good plant for stabilizing soil and preventing erosion.

Dwarf Mouse-ear is also a popular plant for use in traditional folk medicine. In many European countries, it has been used as a natural remedy for various ailments, such as indigestion, respiratory infections, and wounds. It is believed that the plant's saponin content contributes to its medicinal properties, as saponins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Dwarf Mouse-ear is also a popular plant for use in cosmetics and skin care products. Its extracts are often used in skin creams and lotions, as they are believed to have a soothing and moisturizing effect on the skin. The plant's anti-inflammatory properties may also make it useful in reducing redness and irritation in the skin.

Another interesting fact about Dwarf Mouse-ear is that it has been used as a dye plant. The leaves and stems of the plant can be boiled to extract a yellow-green dye, which has been used to color wool and other natural fibers.

It is worth noting that Dwarf Mouse-ear is an important plant for conservation efforts. In some regions, it is considered a threatened or endangered species due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Efforts are underway to protect and conserve the plant, and gardeners can contribute to these efforts by growing Dwarf Mouse-ear in their gardens and creating habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

One more interesting aspect of Dwarf Mouse-ear is its use in cultural and symbolic contexts. In ancient Greece, the plant was associated with the goddess Artemis and was said to have the power to protect against evil spirits and witchcraft. It was also used in traditional Greek medicine for its antiseptic and wound-healing properties.

In Celtic folklore, Dwarf Mouse-ear was considered a magical plant and was often used in spells and charms for protection and healing. It was also believed to have the power to ward off negative energy and promote peace and harmony.

Today, Dwarf Mouse-ear continues to be valued for its symbolism and cultural significance. In modern paganism and Wiccan traditions, it is often associated with protection, healing, and purity. It is also sometimes used in rituals for peace and reconciliation.

In conclusion, Dwarf Mouse-ear is a fascinating and versatile plant that has many uses and applications. Whether it is grown for its beauty in the garden, its medicinal properties, or its cultural and symbolic significance, this plant is truly a treasure. As we continue to learn more about the many benefits of Dwarf Mouse-ear, we can appreciate it even more for its unique and valuable contributions to our world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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