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Stellaria media

Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

 

Common Chickweed, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyCaryophyllaceaePink or carnation family
GenusStellariaFrom the Latin stella for “star’ because of the star-like shape of the flowers or some other feature
SpeciesmediaMeaning “the middle,” because the plant is midway between two others with regard to some identifying characteristic such as size

About plant names...

This European native is widespread in North America now. It exploded into existence in my yard not long after the neighbor’s chickens began rooting around there. As you may have guessed from the name, chickens like chickweed. I don’t know whether they were attracted to it, or they brought it with them. It is considered a pest by many gardeners, lawn owners, and farmers.

Identification: Chickweed is a low-growing plant with a preference for cool, damp conditions. It has stems up to 20" (50 cm) long, spreading horizontally and re-rooting as it goes, and growing upward to 8-12" (20-30 cm). It inhabits lawns, landscaping, fallow gardens, any exposed rich soil. It flowers practically all the time, producing tiny white flowers about ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Flowers have five petals and five sepals. Each petal is deeply cut, so the five petals look like ten. They produce zillions of tiny ¹/₃₂" (1 mm) seeds, up to 15,000 per plant.

Edibility: Chickweed is edible and tasty when added to salads or boiled briefly like spinach. It has a lot of vitamin C, and good nutritional value.

Online References:

Stellaria media on kingdomPlantae.net

Stellaria media on Missouriplants.com

Stellaria media on Wikipedia

Stellaria media on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Stellaria media University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program

Stellaria media on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Stellaria media on CalPhotos

Stellaria media at Illinois Wildflowers

Stellaria media (Common Chickweed, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed)

5/31/2016 · J. Harry Rich State Forest, Pepperell, MA

Stellaria media (Common Chickweed, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed)

4/10/2010 · Tom & Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.9 cm)

Stellaria media description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Stellaria media (Common Chickweed, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed)

4/10/2010 · Tom & Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Stellaria media (Common Chickweed, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed)

5/16/2016 · Oak Hill, Littleton, MA

Stellaria media (Common Chickweed, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed)

4/6/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, Sparks, MD
≈ 18 × 16" (46 × 41 cm)

Stellaria media (Common Chickweed, Craches, Maruns, Winterweed)

3/18/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Phoenix Rd., Phoenix, MD
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

About this map...