Fact Sheets


Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Alsine media L. (USDA-ARS 2021)

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Common chickweed
(English) (GC 2016)

Mouron des oiseaux (French) (GC 2016)

Stellaire moyenne (French) (GC 2016)

Satin flower (English) (CABI 2021)

Berillo (Spanish) (CABI 2021)

Morgéline (French) (CABI 2021)

Morugem (Portuguese) (CABI 2021)

  • Common chickweed (Stellaria media) seeds

  • Common chickweed (Stellaria media) seeds

  • Common chickweed (Stellaria media) seed

  • Stellaria media seed

  • Common chickweed (Stellaria media) seed, side view

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 4: Secondary Noxious Weed Seeds
  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 5: Noxious Weed Seeds

Regulation Notes:

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to northern Africa, Europe and Asia and widely introduced in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond its native range in Africa and Asia (Arabian Peninsula, Southeast Asia) (USDA-ARS 2021). Occurs throughout Canada except in Nunavut (Brouillet et al. 2010+).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Cultivated fields, gardens, pastures, lawns, open woodlands, plantations, orchards, roadsides and disturbed areas (FNA 1993+; Darbyshire 2003; CABI 2021). Infests a wide variety of crops such as: Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare (barley), Solanum tuberosum (potato), Fragaria x ananassa (strawberry) and Rubus ideaus (raspberry) in Canada, and includes Triticum aestivum subsp. aestivum (wheat), Secale cereale (rye), Avena sativa (oats), Phleum pratense (timothy), Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris (beets), and Brassica species (rapeseed, mustard and kale) in Europe (Turkington et al. 1980).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:

Annual or winter annual

Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Stellaria media has been widely used as a leafy vegetable and medicinal herb (Defelice 2004). It becomes a major pest in cultivation where there is cool temperatures, abundant soil organic matter and rainfall (Turkington et al. 1980; Royer and Dickinson 1999). Due to its shade tolerance it can survive under the crop canopy (Royer and Dickinson 1999).

One plant can produce 750 to 30,400 seeds (Defelice 2004). The species is dispersed by footwear, digestive tracts of grazers, ants and as a contaminant in crop seed (Turkington et al. 1980). Seeds were found to be viable after 10 years, and were estimated to retain limited viability for up to 60 years if buried in the soil (Turkington et al. 1980).


Stellaria media plant (Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org)



  • Capsule


    • Capsule length: 3.0 – 5.0 mm (FNA 1993+)


    • Capsule is egg- or oblong shaped (FNA 1993+)

    Surface Texture

    • Surface is smooth


    • Capsule is shiny straw yellow coloured

    Other Features

    • Capsule is shiny green when immature
    • Capsule disperses seed by opening by six tooth-like valves (FNA 1993+)
    • Capsule contains an average of 8-10 seeds (Turkington et al. 1980)
  • Seed


    • Seed diameter *: 0.7 – 1.1 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Round or wedge-shaped seed, compressed in edge view

    Surface Texture

    • Seed surface has stellate grooved reticulation with raised interspaces
    • Raised interspaces arranged in curved rows, following the shape of the seed


    • Translucent, dull reddish-brown coloured seed

    Other Features

    Hilum & Hilum area

    • The hilum is at the narrow end of the seed within a closed notch
  • Embryo



    • Embryo partially fills the seed


    • Embryo is curved, in a peripheral position


    • Endosperm is hard and translucent white coloured

    Other Features

    • Embryo is yellow coloured

Identification Tips


Seeds of Stellaria media appear similar to genera in the Caryophyllaceae that have relatively small, reddish brown, stellate reticulate seeds that are compressed in edge view such as Cerastium and Myosoton species. The seeds of these species differ from S. media with their hila in an open notch and a non-translucent colour.

Additional Botany Information


Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Cerastium arvense L. (field chickweed)

C. arvense seed is generally smaller (length*: 0.5 – 0.8 mm; width: 0.5 – 0.7 mm) tends to have a more angular shape, the hilum is in an open notch, and does not have a translucent colour compared to Stellaria media.

*Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


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Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Meades, S. J., Favreau, M., Anions, M., Bélisle, P. and Desmet, P. 2010+. VASCAN, the database of vascular plants of Canada. http://data.canadensys.net/vascan/ Accessed August 12, 2021.

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). 2021. Invasive Species Compendium, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/journal/cabicompendium Accessed August 12, 2021.

Darbyshire, S. J. 2003. Inventory of Canadian Agricultural Weeds. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch. Ottawa, ON.

Defelice, M. S. 2004. Common Chickweed, Stellaria media (L.) Vill.- “Mere Chicken Feed?”. Weed Technology 18: 193-200.

Flora of North America (FNA) Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico [Online]. 22+ vols. New York and Oxford.  Accessed December 29, 2022.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/5384604 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide.

Royer, F. and Dickinson, R. 1999. Weeds of Canada and the Northern United States. The University of Alberta Press/Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta.

Turkington, R., Kenkel, N. C. and Franko, G. C. 1980. The biology of Canadian weeds. 42. Stellaria media (L.) Vill. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 60: 981–982.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2021. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx Accessed August 12, 2021.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle
Canadian Food Inspection Agency