Chickweed Identification – Stellaria media

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the plant’s main parts – its leaves, flowers, fruits, and more – all with key identification features.

Chickweed, scientifically known as Stellaria media, is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, often referred to as the “Pink” family. If you’ve heard of Birdweed, or Chickenwort, they are other common names of Chickweed. Originating from Eurasia, it is an annual or sometimes a short-lived perennial plant.

Chickweed: Key Parts in Photos

Where to find it

This plant can pop up in a variety of places. It can thrive in areas of full sun, partial shade, or even full shade. And if you’re on a neighborhood walk, keep an eye out in lawns, gardens, or even by the roadside. It has a knack for making a home near the edges of woodlands, in open fields, or in areas of disturbed soil. Chickweed is pretty adaptable, It reaches a height of 6 to 14 inches, making it noticeable but not towering.

How to identify Chickweed

Chickweed has unique flowers that may seem like a mini marvel. At first glance, you might think the flower has 10 petals due to the deep notches on each petal, but it actually only has 5. These flowers, which are white, are either solitary or in clusters, and they sprout from the ends of branching stems. Look closely, and in the center of each flower, you’ll find 3 to 10 stamens. There’s also a 3-parted style, a slender stalk within the flower, in the center. They have green, oval sepals that can be as long as or even longer than the petals.

The leaves are simple in structure and appear opposite to each other on the stem. These leaves are broadly oval and can be over an inch long. As you go lower down the plant, you’ll notice that the leaves have stalks that get progressively longer, and they might have fine hairs on them. The stems themselves are quite weak, branching out in various directions. These stems have a unique 4-sided shape with a row of fine hairs. Chickweed stems can form mats, covering a surface, and often root themselves at lower nodes.

After the flowering season, chickweed will develop fruits. These aren’t juicy berries but cylindrical seed capsules that are light brown. The top of this capsule has six tiny teeth, and inside, it holds several seeds. When these seeds mature, they turn reddish-brown and have a slightly bumpy texture.

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