Stellaria media common chickweed Caryophyllaceae STME*; Bx, br, pb, sd, sv (Torrey 2017), vc, wv (Yost et al. 1991); NY, ct, hb; Q, a, cu, j; K, p; R, gb, lp;


Stellaria (Accessed 11/2014).

Stellaria (Accessed 11/2014).

Stellaria media is an annual or winter annual herb from a slender taproot, stems weak, branching, light green with a single line of hairs down stem and petiole, to 40 cm, (solitary plants can spread to as much as 1.5 m) usually prostrate, mat-forming. 

Stellaria media.leaves. Del Orloske MALD.4/2017

Stellaria media.leaves. Del Orloske MALD .4/2017

Leaves opposite, to 2.5 cm long, egg-shaped, sessile near ends of stems, stalked closer to base, usually bright, light green. 

Stellaria media.Rafa Gonzá

Stellaria media.Rafa Gonzá (Accessed 4/2015).

Flowers white, solitary or in small clusters, 0.5 cm wide, petals deeply split, shorter than sepals, anthers red-violet; sepals hairy; flowers single or in loose clusters at ends of stems; blooms spring and fall mostly April-May (Hough 1983) last one day, self-fertile (autogamous) (Mulligan and Kevan 1973). 

Fruit dry capsule longer than sepals, opening by six teeth, seeds 8-10, ca 0.1 cm; seeds eaten by birds, plants eaten by rabbits (Martin et al. 1951). 

Wetland status: UPL. 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. 

Origin: Europe.

Habitat: An agricultural weed, more common on open ground, lawns, gardens, less common in natural areas. Intolerant of drought, prefers light partial shade, high nitrogen and moist soil, pH 5.2-8.2. 

Notes: Able to flower and set seed in the cooler parts of the year (down to 2°C). Winter plants store sugar rather than starch, to prevent freezing of cells. Temperatures higher than 30° C inhibit seed germination. Seeds may be viable for over 60 years in soil. Plants flower after about 5 weeks and live up to about 7 weeks (Turkington et al. 1980). Outcompetes other plants by shading or smothering seedlings. Accumulates nitrates, tolerant of cold (range extends into the Arctic). Chickweed can transmit a number of viruses to crop plants through pollen and aphids without showing symptoms. Cucumber mosaic virus causes mottled leaves in chickweed. The nematode genus Trichodorus is a vector for the tobacco rattle virus, that infects potatoes, but preferentially attacks chickweed in potato fields (Turkington et al. 1980).