Stellaria media

English: chickweed, common chickweed, starwort, starweed, winterweed, tongue-grass, chickenweed, chickwhirtles, craches, maruns; Afrikaans: gewonw sterremur; Chinese: fan lu; Danish: fugelgras; Dutch: Muur, Vogelmuur; Finnish: pihatahtimb; French: mogéline, mouron des oiseaux, stellaire intermediare; German: Hühnerdarm, Mäusedarm, Vogelmiere, Vogel-Miere, Vogel-Sternmiere; Italian: centocchio, paperina comune; Polish: psia mięta, mysz otraw, gwiazdownica, ptasie zieleJapanese: hakobe, ko-ha-kobe; Portuguese: morugem, alsine, esparguta, mastruço-do-brejo, morrião-branco, morrião-de-inverno, morrião-dos-passarinhos; Spanish: berollo, bocado de gallina, borrisol, capiqui, hierba gallina, morrons, ojo de gringo, pajarera, pamplina, picagallina, quilloi quilloi, revola, yerba gallinera, yerba de canarinos, yerba de los caminos, yerba del pajarero; Swedish: våtarv; Turkish: serce dili

Description:  Early spring annual; grows up to 16 inches high. Forms large mats of foliage producing small, white flowers which are followed quickly by the seed-pods. 

Place or origin: Eurasia

Urban habitat: Prefers moist, shady, and cool soils. It is found in vacant lots, in sidewalk cracks, dump areas, along stone walls.

Ecological functions: food for wildlife, especially insects and birds

History: Stellaria media arrived in North America soon after European colonization and is currently found throughout the world. The plant has a long history of human use as food and medicine and it has been used by many cultures, including several Native American tribes. Its young leaves are highly nutritious and can be eaten raw or cooked and used in a variety of dishes. Medicinally it has been used to treat kidney problems, rheumatism, constipation and improve circulation of blood. It continues to be used today by herbalists to treat skin problems, including acne, rosacea, and excessive dryness. Spiritually, it is thought to be particularly beneficial due to its presence throughout the world. It’s common name in English “chickweed” comes from the fact that in Europe it was fed to chickens.