Stellaria media (Common Chickweed)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||annual, short-lived perennial|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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.
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).
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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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2021-05-25 20:39:41
I have this spreading across larger and larger patches of open woodland that I've been restoring for a few years. It does a good job of crowding out other plant germination. Looks concerning. It's not just for lawns any more. Any advice for controlling it?