PINK FAMILY - Caryophyllaceae: Common Chickweed

Stellaria media (Alsine media)

Flowers--Small, white, on slender pedicels from leaf axils, also in terminal clusters. Calyx (usually) of 5 sepals, much longer than the 5 (usually) 2-parted petals; 2-10 stamens; 3 or 4 styles. Stem: Weak, branched, tufted, leafy, 4 to 6 in. long, a hairy fringe on one side. Leaves: Opposite, actually oval, lower ones petioled, upper ones seated on stem.

Preferred Habitat--Moist, shady soil; woods; meadows.

Flowering Season--Throughout the year.

Distribution--Almost universal.

The sole use man has discovered for this often pestiferous weed with which nature carpets moist soil the world around is to feed caged song-birds. What is the secret of the insignificant little plant's triumphal progress? Like most immigrants that have undergone ages of selective struggle in the Old World, it successfully competes with our native blossoms by readily adjusting itself to new conditions filling places unoccupied, and chiefly by prolonging its season of bloom beyond theirs, to get relief from the pressure of competition for insect trade in the busy season. Except during the most cruel frosts, there is scarcely a day in the year when we may not find the little star-like chickweed flowers.