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Notwithstanding its weedy appearance and habits, this is one of the native chickweeds in Illinois. It is a rather floppy plant with small white flowers. Nodding Chickweed can be distinguished from other chickweeds (Stellaria spp., Cerastium spp.) by the shape of its leaves, diffuse inflorescence, and structure of its flowers. In particular, the pedicels of its flowers are rather long (1" in length or more) and divergent, while its flowerbuds and seed capsules nod downward. Among the Mouse-Eared Chickweeds (Cerastium spp.), Nodding Chickweed has rather long and narrow leaves. Some authorities consider the more western Cerastium brachypodum to be a variety of Nodding Chickweed, or Cerastium nutans obtectum. This latter species (or variety) tends to have more hairy leaves and its pedicels are shorter (less than 1" in length).

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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