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. Some species, such as the common chickweed S. media, are eaten as salad greens. 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.

<==Stellaria Linnaeus 1753 A61
    |--S. alsine PAE98
    |--S. angustifolia [incl. S. glauca var. tenella, S. palustris var. tenella] H90
    |--S. antillana J87
    |--S. borealis H93
    |    |--S. b. var. borealis H93
    |    `--S. b. var. sitchana H93
    |--S. calycantha [incl. S. calycantha ssp. interior, S. calycantha var. simcoei] H93
    |--S. congestiflora O88
    |--S. crispa H93
    |--S. cupaniana PT98
    |--S. cuspidata D03
    |--S. decipiens Hook. f. 1844 A61
    |    |--S. d. var. decipiens A61
    |    `--S. d. var. angustata Kirk 1899 A61
    |--S. decumbens O88
    |    |--S. d. var. decumbens O88
    |    |--S. d. var. polyantha O88
    |    `--S. d. var. pulvinata O88
    |--S. elatinoides Hook. f. 1852 A61
    |--S. filiformis H90
    |--S. flaccida H90
    |--S. gracilenta Hook. f. 1855 A61
    |--S. graminea W01
    |--S. holostea C06
    |--S. littoralis H93
    |--S. longifolia H93
    |--S. longipes [incl. S. longipes var. laeta] H93
    |--S. media (Linnaeus) Vill. 1788 CD07
    |--S. minuta Kirk 1899 A61
    |--S. multiflora C06
    |--S. nitens H93
    |--S. obtusa H93
    |--S. pallida [=S. media ssp. pallida] H93
    |--S. parviflora Banks & Sol. ex Hook. f. 1852 [incl. S. oligosperma Colenso 1886, S. pellucida Colenso 1895] A61
    |--S. patens O88
    |--S. pungens H90
    |--S. roughii Hook. f. 1864 A61
    |--S. subumbellata O88
    |--S. uliginosa O88
    `--S. umbellata H93

*Type species of generic name indicated


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

[A61] Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand vol. 1. Indigenous Tracheophyta: Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledones. R. E. Owen, Government Printer: Wellington (New Zealand).

[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.

[C06] Cheeseman, T. F. 1906. Manual of the New Zealand Flora. John Mackay, Government Printer: Wellington.

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

[H90] Harden, G. J. (ed.) 1990. Flora of New South Wales vol. 1. New South Wales University Press.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[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: Ohba, H., & S. B. Malla (eds) The Himalayan Plants vol. 1. 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: Halliday, R. B., D. E. Walter, H. C. Proctor, R. A. Norton & M. J. Colloff (eds) Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress pp. 121–135. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

Last updated: 4 August 2020.

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