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 Native Plant Society

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Landscape Alternatives - Distinctive Native Plants since 1986!

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.

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.