What is Common Chickweed?
Common chickweed is often called nodding chickweed or chickweed. Originating in Europe, it is now found nearly all over the globe. The scientific name is Stellaria media, and it is a member of the pink or carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). Chickweed has a winter annual life cycle.
It is low growing and usually produces 4- to 12-inch-high thick mat-like patches. Common chickweed is a widespread weed of winter small grains, lawns and turf grass. It has leaves that open and close depending on the climate and tiny white flowers that blossom in the spring. The star-shaped flowers open in daylight hours, but will close in darkness and prior to rainfalls.
Growing and Reproducing Conditions
Common chickweed grows in a number of soil conditions and environments. The pH level can range from 4.9 up to 7.3, but it grows best in soils rich in nitrogen and in damp, cool, shaded areas. It has been known to exist in temperatures of -16 and lower. It thrives and grows well in mild winter areas. Chickweed is often found growing wild in cultivated fields, gardens, lawns, flower beds, trails and along roads all over North America except in the far west regions.
The common chickweed reproduces through creeping stems (fibrous root system) and by seeds. The plants produce a small oval fruit from the blossoms that holds many tiny rust/brownish-colored seeds. One plant can produce from 600 up to 15,000 seeds that are spread by wind, water or other means. Seeds normally germinate and grow within a couple of years but can last for longer periods.
The Reproduction Process
Common chickweed that is located in ideal or near ideal growing conditions (as described above) can easily reproduce. The plant will mature and flourish from a seed to a seedling, finally reaching its full growth. A mature plant will produce other common chickweed plants from roots branching out and generating new plants in locations all around the original one. This process will continue as long as the growing conditions needed for growth and reproduction are present.
The seeds from a common chickweed plant can be found near the original plant or carried far away by way of animals, water or the wind. The size of the common chickweed seed is tiny and easily carried by these means. These seeds will fall to the ground in new areas, germinate and begin to grow a new plant and the process begins again with each new common chickweed plant grown.