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How is Common Chickweed Spread?

By Katherine Kally ; Updated September 21, 2017


Common chickweed can be a winter or summer annual plant with deep green leaves that grow up to 1-inch long in pairs along succulent green or burgundy stems. Tiny white flowers are only 1/4-inch across and appear to have 10 petals each, though in actuality they have five. Common chickweed grows and spreads well in areas with partial or full sun and enjoys moist or mesic environments, though the plant will tolerate light shade or temporary flooding. Winter annuals bloom in the spring and summer annuals bloom in the late summer or early fall. Common chickweed flowers attract andrenid bees, halictid bees and a variety of flies. The flowers may also self-pollinate, should the need arise. Some caterpillars and small songbirds snack on the seeds of the common chickweed, while cottontail rabbits and hogs prefer the foliage. You can find common chickweed growing in woodland areas that are prone to flooding, croplands and fallow fields, thickets, lawns, gardens and adjacent to buildings.

Spreading by Seed

One of the ways common chickweed can spread is by reseeding itself. An average common chickweed plant will bloom on and off for about two months. Each of the flowers is replaced by a seed capsule containing several seeds. The seed capsule is brown with six small teeth across the top rim. Mature seeds are dark reddish brown with tiny pebbles on the surface. Reseeding occurs when the mature seeds fall naturally from the parent plant and grow where they land or where they are carried by the wind. As common chickweed grows well in full sun or shade, areas with moist environments will have an abundance of this invasive weed.

Stem Rooting

Common chickweed has a weak, shallow root system that often spreads by rooting at the stem nodes. The stems from the plant creep along the ground and wherever the stem nodes come into contact with the soil, roots can form. The plants are relatively small and typically range in height from 2 inches to 12 inches. Each plant can spread and cover an area up to 20 inches in diameter, resulting in extensive dense patches.


About the Author


Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.