Cerastium vulgatum is a short-lived perennial, 15-50 cm long from fibrous roots, stems sprawling, hairy, slightly sticky, rooting at nodes, with short, matted basal branches.
Leaves opposite, stalkless (sessile), blade 1-2 cm long, 0.3-1.2 cm wide, stem leaves egg-shaped, lower leaves spatula-shaped, hairy, dark green.
Flowers white, to 0.6 cm wide, petals 5, deeply 2-lobed, to 0.1 cm long or longer, about same length as sepals, sepals 0.5-0.6 cm long; flowers self-fertile (autogamous), (Mulligan and Kevan 1973); inflorescence terminal, becoming widely branched; blooming and fruiting early spring to late autumn (Uva et al. 1997).
Fruit dry, a cylindrical capsule 0.6-1 cm long, 0.2 cm wide, tip opening by 10 linear teeth to release numerous, warty brownish seeds.
Wetland status: FACU-.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Common weed of open areas, roadsides, lawns, gardens.
Notes: Somewhat shade tolerant, intolerant of drought, often green through winter (Uva et al. 1997).