February's weed is Stellaria media (common chickweed) an edible weed in the carnation family.
If you're reading this in winter or spring, common chickweed is probably out there forming large mats of foliage in your flower beds and in bare spots in your lawn. Watch our Weed of the Month from February's Lawn Tips recorded live at our Gwinnett, GA store to learn how to identify it for yourself.
Viewing Tip: Increase the volume and the playback speed according to your preferences. Volume control is the speaker icon on the lower left; playback speed is the gear button on the lower right.
Common chickweed ID Features:
- Round leaves without fuzz (there may be some fuzz on the stems)
- Tiny, tiny white flowers that you may not even notice
- Grows in a clump from one center point, with branches radiating out all around to form round mats
Chickweed grows from one center point and radiates branches all around. This is a single plant; when they grow close together they form a colony and you can't tell one plant from the next.
The little, white flowers are star-shaped, hence the scientific name "Stellaria."
See more pictures on the NCSU Extension webpage for common chickweed.
You'll also see mouse-ear chickweed around too. It's similar in habit, but its leaves are fuzzy, while common chickweed's are smooth.
Eat it or Treat it
Common chickweed is one of those edible weeds. Google it and look in foraging books and you'll find many recipes that use it as a "greens" replacement. My sister even fed chickweed to her pet rabbits as a treat.
Chickweeds are fast growing and there's probably a lot of this in your garden already. If you choose not to preserve it as an edible salad green, then there are three paths for eradication:
- Prevention: Use mulch in flower beds and in September spread pre-emergent herbicide to prevent germination of winter weeds, such as chickweed.
- Manual: Hand pull chickweed - the roots are spindly and it's ridiculously easy to pull up a lot at once. Put it on your compost pile - it decomposes quickly.
- Chemical: It is easy to kill with post-emergent herbicide for broadleaf weeds.