Stellaria media

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Stellaria media

Common Chickweed
Binomial:Stellaria media
Type:Winter annual
Seed Dispersal:Spread primarily by foot traffic, tools, etc.
Germination Time: Autumn
Vegetative Spread:Forms mats

The common chickweed (Stellaria media) is a cool-season annual plant native to Europe. The plant germinates in fall or late winter, then forms large mats of foliage. Flowers are small and white, followed quickly by the seed pods. This plant flowers and sets seed at the same time, and the seed pods explode when mature to disperse the seeds.

Description[edit | edit source]

Common chickweed is a low, mat-forming plant, present throughout the cool seasons and winter, but dying during hot weather. The roots are very fine, and the crown easily breaks away if pulled from very dry or frozen soils, allowing the plant to regrow.

Ecology[edit | edit source]

In both Europe and North America this plant is an invasive weed of gardens, fields, and disturbed grounds. Control is difficult due to the heavy seed sets.

Uses[edit | edit source]

The plant has uses in folk medicine; 17th century herbalist John Gerard recommended it as a remedy for mange. It can also be tolerated as a winter soil cover.

Control[edit | edit source]

  • Mowing: Not effective (a lawn weed)
  • Cultivation: Cultivation is effective for seedlings, but even very young plants produce copious seed.
  • Mulching (for prevention): Mulches provide good control
  • Pulling: Pulling can be difficult, because the roots break off easily.
  • Flame: Effective where appropriate, if using as a winter cover, flaming can help prevent or reduce reseeding the following autumn
  • Pre-emergents (organic): Corn Gluten Meal, applied starting in late summer.
  • Disposal: Hot piles only if seeds are present

References[edit | edit source]