This month we are highlighting COMMON CHICKWEED - so named as it is a preferred food of chickens and other fowl. It is also called star flower.
LATIN: Stellaria media
ENVIRONMENT: Prefers moist, fertile soils, but can grow in a wide range of conditions.
DESCRIPTION: This is a common weed in the carnation family. It grows low to the ground in a mat like growth which inhibits erosion. It has a slender stem with leaves that are small, smooth and shiny and produces small, star-shaped, white flowers with an average of 25,000 seeds per plant which can be viable for 30 years! Chickweed is a winter annual whose seeds mostly germinate in fall, with some in spring/summer.
WILDLIFE: Can be nitrate toxic to livestock if grazed heavily. Common Chickweed is a host for Western Tarnished Plant Bug and Tomato Spotted Wilt virus.
MEDICINAL: Can be used as an anti-inflammatory - used to treat skin ailments in addition to many other ailments.
CULINARY: Edible in salads. Can be used as a famine food.
CONTROL: Easily hand weeded or hoed, especially early, before mats form. Can also be treated with selective herbicides (consult label)
FUN FACT: Thought to be the world’s most adaptable flowering plant, according to one source.