star chickweed (Stellaria pubera)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:
great chickweed
star chickweed
giant chickweed

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS:
Alsine pubera (Michx.) Britt.

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for star chickweed
is Stellaria pubera Michx.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

 

Habit: This native perennial wildflower is about 6-12" tall and unbranch-

ed, or sparingly so. Both fertile and infertile shoots are produced; the latter develop later in the year and don't produce flowers. The central stem is light green to pale purplish green and slightly to moderately pubescent.

 

Leaves: The opposite leaves are up to 3" long and 1¼" across; they are

ovate, lanceolate, or broadly oblong. The upper surface of these leaves is medium to dark green and finely pubescent (sometimes sparsely); their

margins are ciliate. Each leaf tapers gradually to a sessile or nearly sessile

base, while its tip may be acute or blunt; lower leaves are more likely to

have short petioles and blunt tips than upper leaves.

 

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. Each flower is about ½" across, consisting 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 long-

er than the sepals. Each sepal is lanceolate to ovate and pubescent. The

pedicel of each flower is up to 1" long and pubescent.

 

Fruit/Seeds: Each flower is replaced by an ovoid capsule that splits open

at its apex, forming 6 recurved teeth. Each capsule contains many small

seeds that are globoid, somewhat flattened, and minutely warty. Each

seed is often slightly notched on one side.

 

Roots: The root system consists of a taproot with slender fibrous roots.

Small colonies of plants are occasionally formed.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS: Star chickweed propogates itself by
reseeding.

 

HABITAT TYPES: Habitats include rocky wooded slopes, wooded
bluffs, and the upper slopes of sandstone ravines. Another typical habitat
is rich mesic woodlands. This conservative species is found in high qual-

ity woodlands, especially where sandstone is close to the ground surface.
Star chickweed also occurs in alluvial bottomlands.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS: The preference is 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 some-
what acidic. Shallow rocky ground and slopes help to reduce competition
from taller plants.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from
mid- to late spring and lasts about a month.

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Star chickweed is a species primarily
of the eastern United States, specifically east of the Mississippi/Missouri
Rivers. Occassionally found farther west (i.e., Louisiana, Nebraska, Minn-
esota), it ranges from Florida to southern New England; it has not been
recorded in any Canadian province.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.

 

IMPORTANCE AND USES: While some floral-faunal relationships
for chickweeds in meadow-like settings are known, very little of this
information can be safely generalized to this woodland chickweed. The
primary pollinators of the flowers are probably bees (Andrenid bees,
mason bees, & Halictid bees). These insects suck floral nectar and collect
pollen.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Herb/Forb Families and Species

Home Page

Park Activities

   Calendar of Events
  
Volunteer Programs

   Park Regulations

Sky Meadows Park
  
Location
   Geography
   Habitats
   Trails
   Visiting Park

   Virtual Tours

Crooked Run Valley

   Historic District

   Architecture Sites

   Mt. Bleak

   Historical Events

   Park History

   Agriculture

Special Projects

   Blue Bird

   Biodiversity Survey

   BioBlitz

 

Home Page

Nature Guide

   Purpose

   Databases

   Copyright

Plants

   Trees

   Shrubs

   Vines

   Forbs/Herbs

   Ferns

   Grasses

Animals

   Mammals

   Birds

   Reptiles

   Amphibians

   Fish

   Butterflies

   Bees

Fungi

   Mushrooms

   Lichens