Chickweed (Common Chickweed)
Chickweed is an annual wild edible that grows in many locations and as hardy as it is, chickweed is quite delicate. This is an easy-to-grow plant that’s healthy to eat and it produces flowers throughout the growing season even in hot, dry conditions. Chickweed is multi-functional because its presence decreases insect damage to other plants. This plant has a lot of health benefits and is full of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.
Distinguishing Features: Chickweed grows in a unique, intertwined manner, and it has small white star-shaped flowers hence its Latin name, Stellaria media. Stems have a thin line of white hair that grows in a weave-like pattern.
Flowers: Chickweed flowers are small, white, and are produced at the tips of stems and in angles between branches. The white petals are shorter than the 3-4mm long green sepals; each of the 5 petals is 2-lobed so the flower may appear to have 10 tiny petals.
Leaves: Chickweed leaves are oval with pointed tips that are smooth or slightly hairy.
Height: Chickweed can grow from 5 to 50 cm. tall.
Habitat: Chickweed grows in many areas in a wide variety of habitats and soil textures. It is one of the most common weeds founds in lawns but it also grows well in cultivated fields, pastures, waste areas and even under deciduous forests.
Edible parts: Chickweed leaves are used by adding them raw to salads and sandwiches. They can be tossed into soups and stews as well. When adding to a cooked dish, the stems and flowers can be used also.