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Common Chickweed Stellaria media


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Common Chickweed - habit
credit: Hugo.arg/CCSA

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Family: Caryophyllaceae, Carnation view all from this family

Description This common weed of gardens, fields, and lawns has matted foliage and small white flowers.
Habit: introduced annual or perennial herb; erect or usually prostrate; 4-sided stems marked with vertical line of hair, otherwise smooth; variable.
Height: 2-16 in (5-40 cm)
Leaf: usually smooth, opposite, ovate to elliptical, stalked below, becoming stalkless and smaller above, 0.2-1.5 in (5-38 mm) long, 0.1-0.8 in (2-20 mm) wide.
Flower: small, white, 5-parted, 0.1-0.25 in (2-6 mm) wide; with deeply 2-lobed petals, and sepals longer than petals; held in upper leaf axil.
Fruit: capsule, oval or oblong, hairy, to 0.2 in (5 mm) long.

Flower February to December, or year-round depending on climate.

Habitat Cultivated ground, meadows, open woodlands, waste places, disturbed areas; to 8200 ft (2500 m),.

Range Introduced from Europe; naturalized throughout North America, except for far northern Canada.

Discussion Three subspecies have been proposed. Considered weedy or invasive in most areas. Stellaria media flowers and sets seed at the same time. The five petals in each flower are so deeply divided that they appear to be ten in number.