Scientific Name: Stellaria media

Common Name: common chickweed

Habit: A succulent prostrate plant that reproduces by seed that germinate in fall. Plants grow during the winter and produce white flowers and seed in the spring. All plant parts die by mid summer in sunny areas and lawns. Plants may persist somewhat longer in shady areas but usually die out completely before summer ends.

Leaves: Leaves are small (1 to 3 cm long) and broadly eliptic or egg-shaped with pointed ends. Leaves are light green, succulent, and lack hairs. Leaf stems (petioles) are typically hairless but may have sparse hairs near the base. Some upper leaves lack stems and arise directly from the main stem (sessile). Leaf edges are smooth.

Identifying Characteristics: Stems of seedlings are usually hairy although mature plants typically lack hairs. Leaves are short, fat, and pointed. Flowers are white with characteristic five petals (each petal is split into two lobes). Plants are low growing (typically shorter than 15 cm.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers are white and borne on the tips of leafy stems. Petals are split into two lobes giving the apperance of two petals for each petal. Flowers actually have five petals although they may appear to have ten.

Seed Fruit: Fruit is a 1-celled capsule filled with numerous tiny seed. Seed are just over 1 mm wide, somewhat flattened and circular except for a notch in the margin. Seed are light brown to reddish brown and have many tiny bumps on the surface.

Where Found: Plants are found almost anywhere. Common in lawns and flower beds, plants thrive in moist shady areas but are not restricted to those areas.

  • Life cycle: winter annual

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Caryophyllaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: opposite

  • Leaf shape: lance

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: white

  • Growth habit: prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: square or multi-edged

  • Leaf structure: pinnate

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Flower diameter: pencil

  • Flower symmetry: not symmetrical

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: shorter than leaf