It is one of the most common weeds, growing all over the world in gardens, cultivated land and waste places. It is an annual preferring cooler, rich, moist conditions and doesn’t survive dry summers. It’s Latin name ‘Stellaria’ comes from it’s little white flowers that have five deeply divided petals that resemble a star. The leaves are light green, soft, in opposite pairs, oval with pointed tips. The lower leaves are stalked, the upper often larger and without stalks. The leaves are tender to eat, non bitter and good in salads. The stems are thin, weak, round, branched and easily broken. An easy way to identify chickweed is to break the stem and inside you’ll find an inner thread which if you pull it gently stretches
Another peculiarity of chickweed is that the stems have a single row of hairs – have a close look it is quite special. The plant likes to sprawl and can form quite a thick mass making it easy to cut a big handful for putting in your smoothie or for making pesto or a wrap.
Nutritional properties :
Chickweed is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, silicon, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, protein sodium, copper, carotenes, and vitamins B and C!
Chickweed contains mucilage and saponins which assist in the absorption of nutrients, especially minerals. It contains lots of minerals and is a rich source of calcium, as well as chlorophyll, carotenes needed by the liver to produce Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid, essential fatty acids and protein. Chickweed is a nourishing, calming and strengthening food and is used to relieve fevers, infections e.g. bronchitis, sore throats and inflammations, and can help ease the pain of arthritic swollen joints. Growing in cool places gives us good clues as to how it can help us and sure enough it is used externally for abscesses, bites, cuts, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. All these wonderful qualities make it an excellent edible weed to include in your smoothie or salad or to eat.