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.
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?