Stellaria media (common chickweed)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Stellaria media (L.) Vill. 1753
Preferred Common Name
- common chickweed
Other Scientific Names
- Alsine media L.
International Common Names
- English: chickweed; satin flower (USA); starwort (USA)
- Spanish: berillo; bocado de gallina; borrisol; capiqui; hierba gallina; hierba pajarera; morrons; pamplina; revola; yerba gallinera
- French: morgéline; mouron des oiseaux; stellaire intermediaire
- Portuguese: morugem; morugem-branca; morugem-vulgar
Local Common Names
- Argentina: caapiqui; ojo de gringo; pajarera; yerba de canarios; yerba de los caminos; yerba del pajarero
- Brazil: meragem-branca
- Chile: quilloi quilloi
- Denmark: fugelgras
- Finland: pihatahtimb
- Germany: Hühnerdarm; Mäusedarm; Vogelmiere; Vogel-Miere; Vogel-Sternmiere
- Iraq: kazazah
- Italy: centocchio; paperina comune
- Japan: hakobe; kohakobe
- Netherlands: Muur; Vogelmuur
- Norway: vassarv
- South Africa: gewone sterremur
- Sweden: vaatarv; våtarv
- Turkey: serce dili
- Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): misjakinja
- STEME (Stellaria media)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Caryophyllaceae
- Genus: Stellaria
- Species: Stellaria media
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
DescriptionTop of page
The seedling is a light, bright green and the cotyledons have prominent mid-veins. The petiole of the cotyledon is almost as long as the lamina, and has a few fine hairs at the base. Older seedlings have a characteristic single line of hairs along the stem.
DistributionTop of page
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 21 Jul 2022
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|French Southern Territories||Present||Introduced||1898||Original location reported: Kerguelen Islands|
|Federal Republic of Yugoslavia||Present|
|Svalbard and Jan Mayen||Present||Introduced||1898|
|United Kingdom||Present, Widespread|
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Present||Introduced||First reported: 1816 - 1819|
|United States||Present, Widespread|
|-Lord Howe Island||Present||Introduced||1853|
|-New South Wales||Present|
|New Zealand||Present, Widespread|
|Papua New Guinea||Present|
|-Mato Grosso do Sul||Present|
|-Rio de Janeiro||Present|
|-Rio Grande do Sul||Present|
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Seed production is prolific. Champness and Morris (1948) recorded seed yields of between 5.5 and 10.8 kg/ha in pastures and arable lands, respectively, and Salisbury (1961) reported production of between 11 and 13 million seeds/ha. Germination may occur year-round, depending on conditions, with distinct peaks in the UK in spring (March to May) and autumn (Roberts and Feast, 1970). Seeds produced in differing habitats and geographical locations exhibit markedly different dormancy patterns and germination requirements. Seeds of plants from mild, maritime climates germinate relatively quickly after maturation, those from Arctic or Continental environments display little germination after 90 days, while those from Mediterranean areas need 40 to 50 days after-ripening before appreciable germination is observed. Laboratory trials have shown that germination is stimulated by moistening seeds with 0.2% potassium nitrate and keeping them in alternating temperatures between 20 and 30°C. In the field, seeds display three types of dormancy: innate (some seeds have an after-ripening requirement), enforced (seeds buried in soil remain dormant until conditions become favourable) and induced (seeds initially not possessing a light requirement can develop one during burial). This variation in germination requirement and dormancy characteristics may contribute greatly to the success of the species as a weed (Van der Vegte, 1978).
Seeds have been reported to live for as long as 60 years (Evans, 1962). In a long-term experiment, buried seed of S. media displayed 91 to 97% germination after 1 year and 6 to 22% germination after 10 years, no germination was observed after 16 years (Toole and Brown, 1946). In a similar experiment, Darlington and Steinbauer (1961) found some germination after 30 years. In the field, seeds germinate on, and slightly below the soil surface (Evans et al., 1974). Very few seeds germinate from below 2 cm (Chancellor, 1964).
The majority of seeds are dispersed close to the parent plant. Long-distance dispersal may be brought about by animals, and viable seed has been found in the faeces of pigs, horses, cattle, deer, sparrows, quail and magpies. Seeds may also be transported by ants and have been found in the casts of earthworms (McRill, 1974). Man has played a large part in the dispersal of this species through agricultural activities. The seed is able to survive immersion in seawater.
Many aspects of the biology and ecology of S. media are reviewed in detail by Turkington et al. (1980).
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
ImpactTop of page
In comparative trials of weed competition and yield suppression in wheat (Farahbakhsh et al., 1987) and sugar beet (Farahbakhsh and Murphy, 1986), S. media was found to be less competitive than the grass weeds Avena fatua and Alopecurus myosuroides. In trials in winter wheat, S. media and other low growing, prostate species were found to be minor competitors unless present at high densities. The actual competitive effect and associated yield reduction caused by S. media will depend on a number of factors; clearly higher weed densities will result in the greatest yield losses. Time of emergence in relation to the crop is also critical. S. media displays vigorous early growth and will cause the greatest yield losses when it emerges at the same time or before the crop. It is also a highly plastic species (van Acker et al., 1997), meaning that early establishment and resource capture will result in larger more competitive individuals. S. media is a poor competitor against established crop plants.
S. media is also an alternative host for a number of economically important pathogens that attack a range of crop plants. A large number of nematode species which carry viral diseases are associated with S. media: these include the strawberry nematode (Aphelenchoides fragariae) (Yamada and Takakura, 1987), Meloidogyne ardenensis (Thomas and Brown, 1981), Heterodera schachtii (Gleiss and Bachthaler, 1988), Ditylenchus dispaci, Longidorus elongatus, Meloidogyne hapla, Pratylenchus penetrans, Trichodorus pachydermus and T. primitivus (Sobey, 1981). A wide range of viruses has also been isolated, including Oat blue dwarf virus (Vacke, 1998), Beet western yellows virus (Chod et al., 1997), Tomato spotted wilt virus (Bitterlich and MacDonald, 1993), Carnation ringspot virus (Rudel et al., 1977), Cucumber mosaic virus, Lettuce mosaic virus, Raspberry ringspot virus and Strawberry latent ringspot virus (Sobey, 1981).
UsesTop of page
Uses ListTop of page
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Host of pest
Human food and beverage
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
S. neglecta is distinguished by the larger size of all its parts, and of the sepals in particular (5 to 6.5 mm), the number of stamens (usually 10), the seed size (1.3 to 1.7 mm), the seed surface which is dark reddish-brown, usually with slender acute tubercles, and the flowering period which is usually restricted to April to July (Sobey, 1981). It is distributed in Western, Central and Southern Europe extending to southern Sweden and southern Ukraine. Chromosome number is 2n = 22.
S. pallida, also of south and central Europe, is distinguished by its slender, often filiform, stems and pale green leaves, petals which are absent or minute, seeds which are 0.6 to 0.8 mm across, pale yellowish-brown, with small blunt tubercles and its flowering period which is confined to between March and June.
The genus Cerastium has a number of weedy species ('mouse-ear chickweeds' in English) with superficial resemblance to Stellaria: however, species of Cerastium have five styles (compared to three in Stellaria) and the petals are not deeply bifid.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Cultural Control
A range of cultural and integrated weed management strategies have been investigated for the control of S. media. In trials in the UK, the summer biomass of S. media was reduced more by spring- compared with autumn-harrowing in a winter wheat crop (Wilson et al., 1993). In Czechoslovakia, S. media occurred at higher frequencies on no-tillage than on tilled plots (Stach, 1992), whilst in Oregon, USA comparisons between daytime and night-time cultivation have indicated the potential for reducing the germination of buried weed seeds, including S. media, by as much as 75% if cultivation is practised at night (Scopel et al., 1994). The nature of crop rotation may also affect the weed flora present in arable fields, and long-term trials in Germany have indicated that S. media is favoured by rotations consisting of 80% compared with 50% cereals (Pallutt, 1991).
S. media has an unprotected growing point, and as such, is susceptible to flame weeding. In Sweden, 100% kill was achieved with a single treatment at the 0-4 leaf stage (Ascard, 1995). This technique was similarly successful in apple orchards in Italy (Ferrero et al., 1994).
Integrated approaches to weed management involving competitive crop varieties, high crop densities and increased N fertilization have been successful in suppressing weed populations (of which S. media was a major constituent), and increasing crop yields (Grundy et al., 1997).
Recommendations for the chemical control of S. media are summarized below by crop type:
Cereals: S. media was one of the first weeds to increase in importance because of their tolerance of 2,4-D and MCPA. It is, however, susceptible to the closely related mecoprop, and many of the newer herbicides including fluoroglycofen + luoroglycofen + triasulfuron and terbutryn + triasulfuron in barley (Dovydaitis, 1997), ioxynil + prosulfocarb (Thiesson et al., 1996), metosulam + fluroxypyr (Daniau, 1996), isoproturon when applied to winter wheat crops in early May (Soroka et al., 1995) and methabenzthiazuron + isoxaben in winter cereals (Cheer et al., 1988).
Sugarbeet: triflusulfuron + phenmedipham (Toth and Peter, 1997).
Perennial crops: in trials in apple orchards, walnuts and vine crops in California and the Pacific Northwest, USA, thiazopyr successfully controlled S. media (Warner and Holmdal, 1995).
Oilseed rape: in Sweden, benazolin + clopyralid + cyanazine gave effective control of S. media and a range of other broad-leaved weeds (Roslon, 1991).
Pastures: in ryegrass, Phleum pratense and Trifolium repens swards, good control was achieved with autumn applications of a benazolin/2,4-DB/MCPA mixture (Swift et al., 1987), in ryegrass swards, methabenzthiazuron and ethofumesate controlled S. media without damaging L. perenne (Kirkham, 1983). Linuron has also been shown to be effective (Moll, 1981). Mamarot and Rodriguez (1997) provide suggestions for use of herbicides and herbicide mixtures in a wide range of crops in France.
Chlorsulfuron-resistant biotypes of S. media have been reported in Denmark (Andreasen and Jensen, 1994) and Alberta, Canada (O'Donovan et al., 1994). In pot experiments, a biotype from Denmark was resistant to a wide range of ALS inhibitors including chlorsulfuron, metsulfuron, tribenuron, triasulfuron, sulfometuron, flumetsulam and imazapyr (Kudsk et al., 1995). Hall and Devine (1990) detected cross-resistance to a triazolopyrimidine herbicide in a chlorsulfuron-resistant accession of S. media. Resistance of the species to mecoprop has also been reported in the UK (Lutman and Snow, 1987).
There is no evidence in the literature of research to establish potential biological control agents for S. media.
ReferencesTop of page
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