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Chickweed
Caryophyllaceae
Stellaria media (L.) Vill.


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb




Caryophyllaceae Family

Stellaria Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Adder's Mouth, Indian Chickweed, Satin Flower, Scarwort, Star Chickweed, Starweed, Starwort, Stitchwort, Tongue Grass, Winter Weed


Location

Range: Native of all temperate and north Arctic regions. Has naturalized itself wherever the white man has settled, becoming one of the commonest weeds.

Physical Description
A sprawling, annual plant considered a common weed. Stems are succulent and brittle, tangled and procumbent and can grow to 18 inches long; have a line of white hair on one side only which changes direction at each pair of leaves. Leaves are small, paired, light green, ovate, opposite, up to 1½ inches long, upper leaves sessile. Flowers are tiny, white, and star-shaped. Its name is most likely derived from the custom of using the seeds as bird food.

The stem is procumbent and weak, much branched, often reaching a considerable length, trailing on the ground, juicy, pale green and slightly swollen at the joints. Chickweed is readily distinguished from the plants of the same genus by the line of hairs that runs up the stem on one side only, which when it reaches a pair of leaves is continued on the opposite side. The leaves are succulent, egg-shaped, about 1/2 inch long and 1/4 inch broad, with a short point, pale green and quite smooth, with flat stalks below, but stalkless above. They are placed on the stem in pairs. The small white star-like flowers are situated singly in the axils of the upper leaves. Their petals are narrow and deeply cleft, not longer than the sepals. They open about nine o'clock in the morning and are said to remain open just twelve hours in bright weather, but rain prevents them expanding, and after a heavy shower they become pendent instead of having their faces turned up towards the sun, though in the course of a few days rise again. The flowers are already in bloom in March and continue till late in the autumn. The seeds are contained in a little capsule fitted with teeth which close up in wet weather, but when ripe are open and the seeds are shaken out by each movement of the plant in the breeze this being one of the examples of the agency of the wind in the dispersal of seeds, which is to be seen in similar form in the capsules of poppy, henbane, campion and many other common plants.




Compare Species
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Caryophyllaceae
Caryophyllales
Caryophyllales
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Dioscorides, a Greek physician writing in the 1st century AD, described chickweed's applications as follows: "It (chickweed) may usefully be applied with cornmeal for inflammation of the eyes."
Was anciently used to cool the liver, check obesity, and treat skin problems. The juice was used to

remove warts. Has been used internally for anemia, cancer, fevers, excess mucous, scurvy, digestive problems, liver problems, blood disorders, plaque buildup in blood vessels, bronchitis, hoarseness, pleurisy, coughs, colds, internal inflammations, blood poisoning (used internally and externally), rheumatism (the tincture is added to other rheumatic remedies), colitis, cramps, flatulence, hemorrhoids, bowel problems, constipation (if serious, decoction used), and blood disorders. Has been made into cough drops for lung complaints. The extract has been boiled in sugar to make a syrup used to treat lung congestion.
Was traditionally harvested as a vegetable, especially in spring when fresh greens were a welcome addition to the diet.The young leaves when boiled can hardly be distinguished from spring spinach, and are equally wholesome. They may also be used uncooked with young Dandelion leaves to form a salad. Chop common and star chickweed and add them, raw, to salads, or cook them like spinach. Mouse-ear chickweed’s so hairy, you have to cook it.
Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.



Chickweed


Comment: Chickweed, Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

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