Latin name – Stellaria media
Common names – common chickweed, chickenwort, craches, maruns, winterweed
This little plant is found in most places in North America, Europe and Asia. I live in northwest Georgia and have several acres of fields with lots of chickweed intermingled with all kinds of other wildflowers, grasses, weeds and other plants growing wild. Many of the weeds my mother tries to keep out of her suburban ornamental garden are the ones I’m thrilled to find in our unkempt fields. We do not use any pesticides or weed killers so all of those nutritious little plants are chemical free.
Most information says that Common Chickweed blooms from April through late September to early October. This year I noticed the chickweed blooming at the beginning of February. We have had some warm weather this year.
For those of you that want to go find some chickweed to work with in your area here are some tips for identifying it.
Common Chickweed has tiny white blooms that appear to have 10 petals. They are really 5 petals that are split down the middle making each petal appear to be two petals. The leaves are oval shaped coming to a mild point at the end. The leaves are in pairs opposite each other on petioles with a line of fine hair on them. The stalks also have a single line of fine hair running down the stem between the sets of leaves. The hair switches sides of the stem in between the leaf sets. As the leaves go up the stalk each pair is rotated 90 degrees with one pair growing north/south, the next pair growing east/west, next pair north/south and so on. The leaves fold in when it rains and at night.
Chickweed generally likes moist areas but will quickly spread once it takes root in sunny areas. Many homeowners spend quite a bit of time and energy trying to eradicate Chickweed from their lawns.
Chickweed is edible with medicinal uses. Be aware there are some plants that resemble Chickweed that are not edible. Two look-alikes that are toxic are spurge and scarlet pimpernel. If the plant you think might be chickweed has a white sap it is NOT Chickweed and is NOT edible. Spurge (first) and Scarlet Pimpernel (second) are pictured below.
Chickweed is a nutritious little weed. According to WebMD.com, it is high in chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium, vitamims C, A from carotenese and B factors, such as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine.
Medicinal uses have included constipation, stomach and bowel problems, blood disorders, asthma and other lung diseases, obesity, scurvy, psoriasis, rabies, itching and muscle and joint pain.
Here’s some of ways I use Common Chickweed.
- Dried to make tea when I have an upset stomach, losing weight or when I’m having joint or muscle pain.
- In an herbal salve for use with insect bites and rashes.
- In a warm moist compress for muscle pain.
- In a flower essence for balancing my energy with those I have relationships with or balancing my needs with the needs of a group. I take this when I need to let go of a relationship that does not serve my best interest. (You can find Common Chickweed Flower Essence in my shop.)
- In tincture for digestive issues, losing weight, joint and muscle pain.
- Fresh in a salad.
- Chopped and frozen into ice cubes to use in cooking.
I also find this little plant to have a lot of magickal uses. Here are some of the ways I have used it in my magickal practice.
- Bath teas and salts
- Smudge sticks
- Anointing Oils, Waters & Tinctures
- Sprinkling teas or powders
- Carried fresh
For the purpose of:
- Lunar Magick
- Animal Magick
- Bird Magick
About the author: Charissa founded the Pagan Business Network, North Georgia Solitaries and sits on the board of directors for Universal Society for Ancient Ministry. She co-owns Pagan Markets with Sadie Odinsdottir of Sleeping Gryphon and co-owns Silver Pines Gifts, Charissa’s Cauldron and Kit’s Flea and owns Sacred Grove Radio, Pagan Black Book and Pagan Business Directory.
Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.