Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Common Chickweed: Stellaria media

Weed Description:   Prostrate, winter annual that is found throughout North America except for in the far west.   Common chickweed is primarily a weed of turfgrass, lawns and winter small grains.

Seedling:  Cotyledons are ovate, 1-12 mm long by 0.25-2 mm wide, with a slender reddish hypocotyl that is sparsely hairy.

Leaves:  Arranged oppositely, oval or elliptic in outline.  Leaves range from 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches in length, are light green in color and smooth or possibly hairy toward base and on the petioles. Upper leaves are without petioles (sessile), while lower leaves are long petiolated.

Roots:  A shallow, fibrous root system.

Stems:  Usually running prostrate along the ground, rooting at the nodes, with the upper portion erect or ascending and freely branching.  Stems are light green in color and with hairs in vertical rows.
Fruit: An oval, one-celled capsule, whitish in color, containing numerous seeds.

Flowers:  Alone or in small clusters at the ends of stems.   Flowers are small (3-6 mm wide) and consist of 5 white petals that are deeply lobed, giving the appearance of 10 petals.

Identifying Characteristics:   The oppositely arranged small oval or elliptic leaves and stems with rows of hairs are both characteristics that help in the identification of common chickweed.  Mouseear Chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum) is very similar in appearance and growth habit, however this species is densely covered with hairs unlike common chickweed.