[The Chickweeds and Starworts of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Common Chickweed

Stellaria media

Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera

Flower of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)

The photo above shows the deeply cleft petals which range from shorter than to slightly longer than the sepals. Note also the three-forked style. Photographed at the mouth to Oneonta Gorge in the western Columbia River Gorge..........March 5, 2006.

Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)The photo at right shows a flower and ovate-shaped leaves of common chickweed as seen at the mouth of Oneonta Gorge..........March 5, 2006.
Characteristics:

Chickweed is an annual weed, or in mild, moist climates becomes longer lived and even spreads during the winter. It is a low growing species with spreading stems up to 50 cm long which root at the leaf nodes. The herbage has lines of hairs which run the length of the stems, leaf petioles and flower pedicels. The leaves range from ovate to ovate-elliptic in shape and 10-25 mm long. The petioles on the lower leaves are nearly as long as the blades while the upper leaves may be sessile.

The inflorescence consists of leafy-bracteate cymes found at the terminus of the stem and in the leaf axils. The cymes consist of 3-7 white flowers. The 5 petals are shorter than the sepals and are deeply incised nearly to their base, giving the appearance of flowers with 10 narrow petals. The 5 sepals are about 5 mm long and are oblong-lanceolate in shape with obtuse to acute tips.


Habitat:

Chickweed is a weedy species of disturbed fields, roadsides, waste areas and yards.


Range:

Native to Eurasia, chickweed is now found over much of North America. In the Pacific Northwest, it is largely found west of the Cascade Mts.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 100'-2200' between the Sandy River and the Deschutes River.


Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)

The photo above shows a close-up view of the petals and sepals of common chickweed as seen at the mouth to Oneonta Gorge in the western Columbia River Gorge.........March 5, 2006. Note the long, spreading hairs on the outer surface of the sepals, as well as the white margin to each of the sepals.

Strip of hairs on the stem of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)

The photo above shows the lines of hairs running lengthwise along both the edges of the lower leaf petioles and along the length of the stem of common chickweed. Photographed at the mouth of Oneonta Gorge, western Columbia River Gorge.........March 5, 2006.

Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera) - Inflorescence of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)

A close-up of the flowers (left) and upper stem (right) of common chickweed as seen on slopes covered with Oregon white oak above Canyon Creek in the Klickitat State Wildlife Recreation Area...........May 8, 2009.

Flower of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera) - Iinflorescence of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera) - Flower of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)

Inflorescence of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera) - Inflorescence of Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)

Additional photos showing the longitudinal lines of hairs lining the stems, petioles and pedicels of common chickweed along with close-ups of the calyces and flowers. Photographed at the Labyrinth in the mid-Columbia River Gorge...........April 15, 2010.

Common Chickweed: Stellaria media (Synonyms: Alsine media, Stellaria apetala, Stellaria media ssp. media, Stellaria media var. procera)

Common chickweed as seen on the southeastern slopes of Sevenmile Hill several miles northwest of The Dalles, Oregon............March 8, 2015.

Paul Slichter