(Aisine media; Stellaria media of Gray) Pink family
Flowers - Small, white, on slender pedicels from leaf axils, also
in terminal clusters. Calyx (usually) of 5 sepals, much longer
than the 5 (usually) 2-parted petals; 2-10 stamens; 3 or 4
styles. Stem: Weak,
branched, tufted, leafy, 4 to 6 in long, a
hairy fringe on one side. Leaves: Opposite, acutely oval, lower
ones petioled, upper ones seated on stem.
Preferred Habitat - Moist, shady soil; woods; meadows.
Flowering Season - Throughout the year.
Distribution - Almost universal.
The sole use man has discovered for this often pestiferous weed
with which nature carpets moist soil the world around is to feed
caged song-birds. What is the secret of the insignificant little
plant's triumphal progress? Like most immigrants that have
undergone ages of selective struggle in the Old World, it
successfully competes with our native blossoms by readily
adjusting itself to new conditions, filling places unoccupied,
and chiefly by prolonging its season of bloom beyond theirs, to
get relief from the pressure of competition for insect trade in
the busy season. Except during the most cruel frosts, there is
scarcely a day in the year when we may not find the little
star-like chickweed flowers. Contrast this season with that of a
native chickweed, the LONG-LEAVED STITCHWORT [LONG-LEAVED
CHICKWEED] (A. longifolia [S. longifolia]), blooming only from
May till July, when competition is fiercest! Also, the common
chickweed has its parts so arranged that it can fertilize itself
when it is too cold for insect pollen-carriers to fly; then,
especially, are many of its stamens abortive, not to waste the
precious dust. Yet even in winter it produces abundant seed. In
sunny, fine spring weather, however, when so much nectar is
secreted the fine little drops may be easily seen by the naked
eye, small bees, flies, and even thrips visit the blossoms whose
anthers shed pollen one by one before the three stigmatic
surfaces are ready to receive any from younger flowers.
Previous: POKEWEED SCOKE PIGEONBERRY INKBERRY GARGET
Next: SWEETSCENTED WHITE WATER LILY POND LILY WATER NYMPH WATER
|ADD TO EBOOK