Myosoton aquaticum (Giant Chickweed)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade; moist soil, thickets, along shores
Bloom season:May - October
Plant height:6 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] ½-inch white flowers arising from leaf axils and at the tips of branching stems. Flowers have 5 petals that are deeply divided so they look like 10. 10 white-tipped stamens surround a green ovary with 5 short, arching white styles at the top.

[photo of sepals and glandular hairs] The 5 green sepals are a little shorter than the petals, narrowly egg-shaped with a blunt tip. The sepals and flower stalks are covered with glandular hairs.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are egg to heart-shaped, up to 2½ inches long and 1 inch wide, toothless and often wavy around the edges. The lowest leaves are short-stalked but the upper leaves are stalkless or nearly so, and may clasp the stem. Attachment is opposite, with leaf pairs at right angles to the pair above and below. The upper leaves and stems are covered in glandular hairs, the lower more likely hairless. Stems are many branched and weak, typically sprawling on surrounding vegetation for support.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is an oval capsule about as long as or a little longer than the sepals. As fruit develops, the flower stalk nods with the capsule hanging down at the tip. When ripe, the capsule splits open at the tip releasing numerous round, rusty brown seeds.


A common weed of disturbed soils.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Goose Garden

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • ReWild Native Gardens
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Chisago and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Chisago County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Steven - Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Township, Ramsey County,
on: 2012-06-11 22:00:15

I have photos of the flowers if there is any need.

Posted by: Tim - Woman Lake, near Longville, MN 56655
on: 2015-10-17 09:27:00

The Giant Chickweed is common around our lake cabin. It's attractive, and doesn't seem invasive. Yet.

Posted by: Bryan P - Oakdale
on: 2016-11-01 13:28:57

Chickweed can form dense colonies and smother new vegetation, as witnessed in the first growing seasons of several wetland restorations in the northern metro suburbs. But in other areas it has been observed as a few singular plants in a patch of diverse shoreline/wetland vegetation. Seems to proliferate with more disturbance.

Posted by: S. M. Smith - McGrath Mn, Aitkin County
on: 2022-10-02 20:16:05

Bottom land along the Snake River. October 2, 2022

Posted by: Bill Brown - Grant
on: 2022-11-01 09:46:53

Several years after buckthorn removal. Had ignored this but am now being overrun by it, especially in lower areas. Need control advice. Thanks!

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.