Common chickweed (Stellaria media), also commonly known as winterweed, is a cool season annual, somewhat succulent, low-growing herb. Native to Europe, this chickweed prefers wet or damp disturbed woodland areas, cultivated areas, and roadsides. Chickweed can create dense mats of shoots, up to 12 inches long, shading and out-competing young seedlings and other native plants. It has been noted that chickweed contains poisonous glycosides and high levels of nitrate.
Common chickweed stems are green or burgundy, prostrate-, up to about 12 inches long, with longitudinal line of hairs. Leaves are opposite, oval, light-green, usually about 2 centimeters long, and pointed at the tip. Small white flowers bloom during late fall through early spring. The flowers consist of 5 bifid or split petals that give the appearance of 10 petals. The root system is shallow and fibrous. Common chickweed can reproduce by reseeding itself, or it can spread vegetatively by rooting at the leaf nodes along the stem. Common chickweed can produce approximately 800 seeds in late fall to early spring and it takes 7 to 8 years for the seed bank (supply of viable seeds in soil) to be 95% depleted. Common chickweed has been observed in the Mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain of North Carolina.
Fact Sheet: Common Chickweed