Stellaria media, Common Chickweed

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener November 13, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Stellaria media, Common Chickweed

Common chickweed is an invasive annual, low-growing herb native to Europe. Stems are decumbent, to 19.7 in. (50 cm) long with a longitudinal line of hairs. Leaves are opposite, oval, to 0.8 in. (2 cm) long, and pointed at the tip. Older leaves are petiolate. Flowering occurs in early spring when small, white flowers develop in the leaf axils or in terminal clusters. Flowers have five cleft petals, therefore, appearing to have 10. Fruits are very small and are covered by extremely hairy calyces. Common chickweed occurs in shady, moist locations and can commonly threaten habitats on rocky seeps.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Caryophyllales > Caryophyllaceae > Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

Synonym(s): chickweed, nodding chickweed, stitchwort, starwort

Stellaria media - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Common chickweed - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an Invasive Species to EDDMapS.

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Plant

Common chickweed is an annual, low-growing herb. Stems are decumbent, to 19.7 in. (50 cm) long with a longitudinal line of hairs.

common chickweed common chickweed

Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft., bugwood.org

Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, bugwood.org

Foliage

Leaves are opposite, oval, to 0.8 in. (2 cm) long and pointed at the tip. Older leaves are petiolate.

common chickweed common chickweed
Bruce Ackley, Ohio State University, bugwood.org Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs in early spring when small, white flowers develop in the leaf axils or in terminal clusters. Flowers have five cleft petals, therefore, appearing to have 10.

common chickweed common chickweed
Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, bugwood.org Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, bugwood.org

Fruit

Fruits are very small and are covered by extremely hairy calyces.

common chickweed (Stellaria media) common chickweed (Stellaria media)
Bruce Ackley, Ohio State University, 
bugwood.org

D..Walters and C. Southwick, Table 
Grape Weed Disseminule ID, USDA APHIS ITP, bugwood.org

 

Native Species That Can Resemble Common Chickweed

- Images at invasive.org

star chickweed star chickweed
Wendy VanDyk Evans bugwood.org

Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,

bugwood.org

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

Additional Images for Common Chickweed

Common chickweed - Images at Invasive.org

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's college of agriculture, Cooperative Extension office, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Invasive Plants Established in the United States that are Found in Asia and Their Associated Natural Enemies - USDA Forest Service

Invasives Database - TexasInvasives.org

Common chickweed - University of California Statewide IPM Program

Stellaria media - Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes - Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Non-Native Plant Species of Alaska - University of Alaska, Anchorage

 


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.