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Stellaria pubera

Phonetic Spelling
stell-AR-ee-uh PUB-er-uh
Description

Stellaria pubera, or Star Chickweed, is a perennial herbaceous wildflower in the carnation family about 6 to 12 inches tall and sparingly branched. Of all the Chickweeds, Star Chickweed is probably the most attractive due to its star-shaped white flowers. It is in leaf all year, in flower all year, and the seeds ripen all year. The plant produces both fertile and infertile shoots. Infertile shoots develop later in the year and don't produce flowers. The central stem of each fertile shoot produces a terminal cyme of flowers; occasional individual flowers may develop from the axils of the upper leaves. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about a month. The root system consists of a taproot with slender fibrous roots. Small colonies of plants are occasionally formed.

Star Chickweed prefers dappled sunlight to light shade during the spring, followed by light to medium shade. The soil should be well-drained but consistently moist, with an abundance of organic matter and a layer of decaying leaves. It should also be somewhat acidic. The plant is easy to grow and can be very lush and vigorous when grown in a fertile soil, but in infertile soils it will flower and set seed while still very small. A very common garden weed, the flowers open in the morning and remain open for about 12 hours. They do not open in dull weather. The leaves fold up of a night time, enfolding and protecting the tender buds of new shoots. 

Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked or added to salads. The cooked leaves can scarcely be distinguished from spring spinach. The leaves contain saponins so some caution is advised. The seed can be ground into a powder and used in making bread or to thicken soups. Young shoots and tender tips of shoots can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried for tea. Chickweed has a long history of herbal use, being particularly beneficial in the external treatment of any kind of itching skin condition.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or other problems. The leaves contain saponins, which, although toxic, are very poorly absorbed by the body and tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#white#sun#partial shade#weed#edible weed#NC native#summer flowers#spring interest#edible garden#wildflower garden#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#white#sun#partial shade#weed#edible weed#NC native#summer flowers#spring interest#edible garden#wildflower garden#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Stellaria
    Species:
    pubera
    Family:
    Caryophyllaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Pollinated by bees and noted for attracting wildlife. A food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    throughout
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees and other polinators.
    Edibility:
    Leaves and seeds can be eaten raw. Leaves can be cooked.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Each flower is replaced by an ovoid capsule that is open at its apex; it has 6 curved teeth around its upper rim. Each capsule contains many small seeds that are globoid, somewhat flattened, and minutely warty. Each seed is often slightly notched on one side. Fruit displays from May to July.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Half inch flowers with five petals, each divided into two linear segments. Each flower consists of 5 green sepals, 5 white petals (looking like 10 petals, because each petal is deeply bifurcated), a white ovary with 3 styles at its apex, and 10 stamens with reddish brown anthers. The petals are about the same length or a little longer than the sepals. Each sepal is lanceolate to ovate and pubescent. The pedicel of each flower is up to 1" long and pubescent. Flowers bloom from April to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Up to 3 inch long and 1.25 inches broad elliptical, unstalked leaves, pointed at each end. The opposite leaves are ovate, lanceolate, oblanceolate, elliptic, or broadly oblong. The upper surface of these leaves is medium to dark green and finely pubescent (sometimes sparsely). The leaf bases are sessile or nearly sessile, while their tips are either acute or blunt; lower leaves are more likely to have short petioles and blunt tips than upper leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Weak stems with two fine hairy lines. The central stem is light green to pale purplish green and glabrous to moderately pubescent.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds