Common Chickweed or Nodding Chickweed

Wetenschappelijk: Stellaria media

Stellaria comes from the Latin stella (star), which refers to the five two-part petals, which stand as an asterisk. Media means "middle".

Nederlands: Vogelmuur

Deutsch: Vogelmiere
Français: Mouron des oiseaux

Family: pink family or carnation family, Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Stellaria, Chickweed

Chickweed is an excellent plant food (green fodder and oilseed) for birds. Leaf and seeds are popular as bird food.
Almost all seed eating birds eat the seeds of chickweed, but also the leaves and stems are eaten.


Size: 10 - 40 cm.
Lifetime: Yearling, rarely lasting. Therofyt (no winter buds).
flowering months: the whole year (I-XII), peak from March to May (III-V)
Roots: Chickweed has one root system, sometimes causing adventitious roots. Root depth to 10 cm.
Stems: On the ground, a cylindrical stems with, among the nodes 1 row of hair. Chickweed grows placards.
Leaves: Ovate to elliptic pointed evergreen leaves, more than 7 mm, with a long handle, only the top leaves have no stem.
Flowers: White flowers 0.8-1 cm grroot, androgynous (male and female genitalia), petals are deeply 2-piece and almost as long as the sepals: 3 to 5 mm (sometimes the petals missing). There are three styles and usually three (sometimes more) stamens. Flower steal sticky beklierd.
Fruit: Fruit box with 0.8 to 1.4 mm large seeds, usually dark brown. Steal fruit are ceding or beaten back. Seeds are long-lived (> 5 years) and dicotyledonous (germinating with two cotyledons).
Biotope: Sunny to lightly shaded, open places on dry to moist, nutrient-rich, especially nitrogen-rich, often fertilized and recast ground.
Localities: Fields, gardens, vineyards, fallow land, water edges (ditches), in gutters, between paving stones at houses, ruderal places, hedgerows, orchards, gardens, pastures (only torn meadow and fertilized or piece driven pasture) and shoulders (eg. Open spaces along contaminated locks).
Spread: Around the world in temperate regions. Lacking in large parts of the polar regions and desert areas.
General: Native, not threatened
Information: Occasionally you see plants with black mottled leaves.


There are in Benelux two closely related species for which chickweed resembles:

  • Sea-chickweed (Stellaria pallida) grows mainly in spring and looks pale green. He makes a few 'sprayed' impression. The petals are often absent. The name Sea-chickweed based on the idea that the species occurs mainly in the dunes. But further investigation revealed that he also found in the interior, and on that has been overlooked.
  • Hedge chickweed (Stellaria neglecta) is more robust than chickweed, has larger petals, ten stamens and the largest seeds. The species is uniform.


Guihelheil (Anagalis arvensis) and blue guihelheil (Anagallis coerulea) resembles bird wall by approximately the same growth habit, but the flowers are red, respectively blue.

Both species are highly toxic, but are fortunately not as common as chickweed.

The white flowers of chickweed are open all day, while the red flowers of Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) and the blue flowers of blue pimpernel (Anagallis coerulea) but all are open throughout the morning until about 14:00. In rainy and cloudy weather, the flowers will not open itself.


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