Stellaria media (Common Chickweed)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Stellaria
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:annual, short-lived perennial
Origin:Eurasia
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, shade, sun; lawns, gardens, roadsides, woodland edges, fields, waste areas, disturbed soil
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:6 to 14 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Flowers are single or in leafy branching clusters at the ends of branching stems, on hairy stalks. Flowers are about ¼ inch across, the 5 petals white, widely spaced and deeply notched, appearing like 10 petals. 3 to 5 stamens (or up to 10) and a 3-parted style are in the center. The sepals are oval to egg-shaped, tapered to a point and are as long as or longer than the petals, their outer surface covered in fine hairs, usually glandular.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] The leaves are 1/3 to just over an inch long, thin, broadly oval, tapered slightly to a sharply pointed tip, rounded to wedge-shaped at the base, toothless, the upper leaves stalkless becoming progressively longer stalked lower down, hairless but with fine hairs on the stalks.

[photo of stem] The weak stems are much branched, 4 sided with 1 row of fine hairs. Plants are mat-forming and rooting at the lower nodes, sprawling but often rising at the end of a stem (decumbent).

Notes:

An early introduction from the Old World, the common name for Stellaria media - Common Chickweed - has become as synonymous with “lawn weed” as the common dandelion. A prolific seed producer and well adapted to heavy shade, it readily rebranches and flowers below the cut of a mower blade and can be tenaciously persistent in thin areas of the lawn too shady for turf grasses. It is easily distinguished from its (also weedy) cousin Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium fontana), which has similar flowers but is densely hairy.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey County.

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