In the Wild
Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)
*Also known as bird weed, passerina, satinflower, starweed, tongue grass, and winterweed
Found in meadows, pastures, gardens, and lawns, this lanky, delicate annual has sprawling, tangled stems, which create a dense mat that can extend more than two feet. Its small, oval to egg-shaped leaves grow in pairs. A row of tiny hairs runs along one side of the stem to the first pair of leaves then switches to the other side of the stem. It switches back and forth from side to side at each set of leaves. The tiny star-shaped flowers are white with five petals that are deeply divided, giving the appearance of ten petals. These grow at the end of the stems and bloom from March to December. In mild areas, chickweed can bloom all year.
Chickweed flowers open on sunny days but close in the rain or when the sky is overcast. This was the basis of weather divination indicating no rain for at least four hours when the flowers were wide open. If they are shut, it will soon rain. The flowers develop into oval seed capsules.
After being ignored by ancient herbalists, chickweed became popular for a wide range of remedies in the Middle Ages. Although the leaves are tiny, they have been used as salad greens and cooked like spinach. Today, the use of chickweed by herbalists is limited.
This plant was named chickweed because chickens and other birds are fond of the seeds. In addition, the seeds were customarily given to caged birds. This plant’s name passerina is also the name of a genus of birds in the cardinal family.
Dry several sprigs of leaves and flowers for a sachet to carry with you when you want to attract love. Place a sachet under your bed to increase fertility and foster fidelity in a relationship. Sprinkle flowers in your bath water to release negative feelings and anger. Burn a small amount of dried leaves and/or flowers to dispel negative energy in the home. Place sprigs on your altar to bolster moon magic or enhance the energy of esbat rituals. Hold a sprig in each hand to draw down lunar energy. Chickweed adds strength to animal magic, and of course, when working with birds.
Chickweed is associated with the element water, and its astrological influence comes from the moon.