Shetland Mouse-ear
Cerastium nigrescens, commonly known as the Shetland Mouse-ear, Shetland Mouse-eared Chickweed or Edmondston's Chickweed, is an endemic plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

 found in Shetland, Scotland.

It was first recorded in 1837 by botanist Thomas Edmondston
Thomas Edmondston
Thomas Edmondston was a British-born botanist.The family of Edmondston was prominent in 19th century Shetland. Thomas Edmondston's uncle, also Thomas Edmondston, was laird of the Buness estate on Unst and host to many scientific visitors to Shetland...

, who was 12 at the time. For a long time it was synonomised
Synonym (taxonomy)
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that is or was used for a taxon of organisms that also goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies...

 with Arctic Mouse-ear Cerastium arcticum
Cerastium arcticum
Cerastium arcticum is a flower distributed at parts of western and southern Greenland, Baffin Island, Labrador, Iceland, Scotland, Norway and Svalbard....

but it is now widely regarded as a separate species. Although reported from two other sites in the 19th century, it currently grows only on two serpentine hills on the island of Unst
Unst is one of the North Isles of the Shetland Islands, Scotland. It is the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles and is the third largest island in Shetland after the Mainland and Yell. It has an area of .Unst is largely grassland, with coastal cliffs...

 (see Keen of Hamar
Keen of Hamar
Keen of Hamar a National Nature Reserve on Unst, in Shetland, Scotland. The reserve, managed by Scottish Natural Heritage, is primarily of botanical interest, for example for populations of Cerastium nigrescens, a plant unique to Unst....


The numbers of C. nigrescens can vary dramatically from year to year, for reasons that are unclear (probably due to a varying rates of seedling germination and survival), but the underlying trend seems stable, and there has been no change in its distribution.

Mature plants may be not much more than a single shoot with one flower or can be a fist-sized cushion with as many as 40 flowers. Flowers look disproportionately large compared with the size of the plant.
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