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Stellaria media - (L.)Vill.

Common Name Chickweed, Common chickweed
Family Caryophyllaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The leaves contain saponins[7, 65]. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. 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[K]. Report of paralysis attributed to excessive intake. Should not be used during pregnancy or during breastfeeding [301].
Habitats Growing almost anywhere, it is a common garden weed[7, 17].
Range A cosmopolitan plant, found in most regions of the world, including Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Stellaria media Chickweed, Common chickweed


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stellaria_spp_Sturm5.jpg
Stellaria media Chickweed, Common chickweed
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2560842443

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Summary

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Early spring, Early winter, Late summer, Late fall, Late spring, Late winter, Mid summer, Mid fall, Mid spring, Mid winter. Form: Spreading or horizontal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Stellaria media is a ANNUAL growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to December, and the seeds ripen from Jan to December. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Alsine media. Alsine apetala. Arenaria vulgaris. Stellaria vulgaris.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Young leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb[2, 7, 9, 12, 52, 54, 183]. They can be available all year round if the winter is not too severe[85]. Very nutritious, they can be added to salads whilst the cooked leaves can scarcely be distinguished from spring spinach[4, K]. The leaves contain saponins so some caution is advised, see the note on toxicity at the top of the page. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Seed - ground into a powder and used in making bread or to thicken soups[172, 183]. It would be very fiddly to harvest any quantity of this seed since it is produced in small quantities throughout most of the year and is very small[K]. The seed contains 17.8% protein and 5.9% fat[218].

Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 14.5g; Fat: 2.4g; Carbohydrate: 63.9g; Fibre: 20.5g; Ash: 19.3g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 30mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.02mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.14mg; Niacin: 0.51mg; B6: 0mg; C: 375mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figure for vitamin A is in mg

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Carminative;  Demulcent;  Depurative;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Expectorant;  
Galactogogue;  Kidney;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic;  Poultice;  Refrigerant;  TB;  
Vulnerary.

Chickweed has a very long history of herbal use, being particularly beneficial in the external treatment of any kind of itching skin condition[238]. It has been known to soothe severe itchiness even where all other remedies have failed[254]. In excess doses chickweed can cause diarrhoea and vomiting[254]. It should not be used medicinally by pregnant women[254]. The whole plant is astringent, carminative, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, refrigerant, vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 54, 165, 222]. Taken internally it is useful in the treatment of chest complaints and in small quantities it also aids digestion[254]. It can be applied as a poultice and will relieve any kind of roseola and is effective wherever there are fragile superficial veins[7]. An infusion of the fresh or dried herb can be added to the bath water and its emollient property will help to reduce inflammation - in rheumatic joints for example - and encourage tissue repair[254]. Chickweed is best harvested between May and July, it can be used fresh or be dried and stored for later use[4, 238]. A decoction of the whole plant is taken internally as a post-partum depurative, emmenagogue, galactogogue and circulatory tonic[218]. It is also believed to relieve constipation and be beneficial in the treatment of kidney complaints[244]. The decoction is also used externally to treat rheumatic pains, wounds and ulcers[4, 218, 222]. The expressed juice of the plant has been used as an eyewash[244].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

A very easily grown plant, it prefers a moist soil and a position in full sun or partial shade[52, 238]. It can be very lush and vigorous when grown in a fertile soil[1], but in infertile soils it will flower and set seed whilst still very small. A very common garden weed, chickweed grows, flowers and sets seed all year round. The flowers open around 9 o'clock in the morning and remain open for about 12 hours[4]. They do not open in dull weather[4]. The leaves fold up of a night time, enfolding and protecting the tender buds of new shoots[4]. A food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species. Special Features: Edible, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above.

Propagation

Seed - this species should not need any encouragement, you are much more likely to be trying to get rid of it than trying to introduce it (eating it is one way of doing that!)[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Stellaria alsineBog Stitchwort, Bog chickweed12
Stellaria dichotomaAmerican chickweed02
Stellaria diversiflora 10
Stellaria jamesianatuber starwort30
Stellaria neglectaGreater Chickweed, Common chickweed10
Stellaria nipponica 10
Stellaria radians 10
Stellaria sessiliflora 10

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Vill.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

James Archer   Fri Apr 6 2007

Can any one tell me if chickweed can help to treat sweet bitch in horses?

colleen   Thu Feb 14 2008

im taking iron plus which contains chickweed i have a throyid condition does chickweed affect that.graves disease.

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Fri Feb 15 2008

We can find no records of chickweed having any effect, positive or negative, on a thyroid condition. It is almost certainly safe to use, though if you are taking other medications then it would be wise to consult with your health practitioner.

Robert Gergulics   Sat Apr 11 2009

photos Here. www.Photorobg.com

www.photorobg.com

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Subject : Stellaria media  
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