Cerastium beeringianum is a delicate, alpine forb with deeply cleft white petals that forms loose to dense mats in rocky slopes, meadows and tundra in mountainous areas of Denali (primarily north of the Alaska Range crest). Plants grow from taproots, and spread horizontally by stolons. Stems are erect to decumbent, 3-40 cm tall and pubescent from glandular hairs. Leaves are also pubescent, basal and stem, oppositely arranged, sessile and lanceolate to oblong or elliptic, margins entire. The inflorescence is a cyme with 3-6 flowers. The five petals are white, twice as long as sepals and deeply dissected as to appear separate. The perfect flowers have 10 stamens and 5 styles. Cerastium beeringianum can be confused with members of the genus Stellaria in the park, which also has opposite leaves and deeply dissected white petals, but those plants have 3 styles, not five (check with hand lens).
Cerastium beeringianum flowers in early summer in Denali.
Cerastium beeringianum is monoecious with bisexual flowers. Flowers are insect pollinated, primarily by flies, bees and wasps. This species is also capable of self-pollination. Seeds do not have any special adaptations for dispersal.
Cerastium beeringianum has a widespread amphi-Beringian distribution, occurring commonly in arctic and alpine areas from Eurasia to eastern North America, including southward to the mountains of the western United States and Canada's Maritime provinces(although absent from Greenland and western Europe). In North America, this species range extends from Alaska, east across Canada to the Atlantic, and south through the Rocky Mountain and Pacific coast states. It is widespread throughout in arctic and alpine areas of Alaska. In Denali, C. beeringianum is quite common, occurring in the mountains on both sides of the Alaska Range crest.
Cerastium beeringianum is typically an alpine species occurring from 213 m to 1752 m with an average plot elevation of 1171 m. This species shows a slight preference towards north facing slopes. It is commonly found on steep slopes with an average plot slope of 20 degrees.
Cerastium beeringianum grows on sandy to rocky sites, usually in the mountains on solifluction lobes, heaths, meadows, and talus but also on suitable lowland soils such as gravels bars, cliffs, dry slopes and lakeshores.
Wide ranging; moist to dry sites in the mountains.