Chickweed Stellaria media, photographed by Carl Farmer.

Belongs within: Caryophyllaceae.

Stellaria, the chickweeds, is a cosmopolitan genus of small herbaceous plants, some species of which have spread worldwide in pasture. Species boundaries within the genus are complicated by high morphological diversity of some species.

See also: Stars in the pasture.

Characters (from Abrams 1944): Low, often diffusely branching annuals or perennials with cymose, white flowers. Sepals usually five. Petals of the same number as sepals or rarely none, two-cleft or parted. Stamens ten or less, hypogynous. Ovary one-celled, many-ovuled. Styles three, rarely four or five, usually opposite sepals. Capsule globose to oblong, dehiscent by twice as many valves as styles. Seeds smooth or roughened.

    |--S. alsine PAE98
    |--S. antillana J87
    |--S. congestiflora O88
    |--S. cupaniana PT98
    |--S. cuspidata D03
    |--S. decipiens A27
    |    |--S. d. var. decipiens A27
    |    `--S. d. var. angustata A27
    |--S. decumbens O88
    |    |--S. d. var. decumbens O88
    |    |--S. d. var. polyantha O88
    |    `--S. d. var. pulvinata O88
    |--S. gracilenta A27
    |--S. graminea W01
    |--S. media (Linnaeus) Vill. 1788 CD07
    |--S. parviflora A27
    |--S. patens O88
    |--S. roughii A27
    |--S. subumbellata O88
    `--S. uliginosa O88

*Type species of generic name indicated


Abrams, L. 1944. Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States vol. 2. Stanford University Press.

[A27] Andersen, J. C. 1927. Popular names of New Zealand plants. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 905-977.

[CD07] Cantino, P. D., J. A. Doyle, S. W. Graham, W. S. Judd, R. G. Olmstead, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis & M. J. Donoghue. 2007. Towards a phylogenetic nomenclature of Tracheophyta. Taxon 56 (3): E1-E44.

[D03] Dus̩n, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896-1899, vol. 8 РBotany (W. B. Scott, ed.) pp. 1-34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum – Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1-136.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: An introductory note. In The Himalayan Plants vol. 1 (H. Ohba & S. B. Malla, eds) The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19-46.

[PAE98] Pakeman, R. J., J. P. Attwood & J. Engelen. 1998. Sources of plants colonizing experimentally disturbed patches in an acidic grassland, in eastern England. Journal of Ecology 86: 1032-1041.

[PT98] Panitsa, M., & D. Tzanoudakis. 1998. Contribution to the study of the Greek flora: Flora and vegetation of the E Aegean islands Agathonisi and Pharmakonisi. Willdenowia 28: 95-116.

[W01] Wohltmann, A. 2001. Closely related species of Parasitengonae (Acari: Prostigmata) inhabiting the same areas: Features facilitating coexistence. In Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress (R. B. Halliday, D. E. Walter, H. C. Proctor, R. A. Norton & M. J. Colloff, eds) pp. 121-135. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

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