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|Greater stitchwort, Stellaria holostea|
Stellaria is a relatively small herb with simple opposite leaves. It produces small flowers with 5 sepals and 5 white petals each usually deeply cleft, or none at all, all free. Stamens 10 or fewer.
Chickweeds are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Angle Shades, Heart and Dart, Riband Wave, Setaceous Hebrew Character and the Coleophora case-bearers C. coenosipennella (feeds exclusively on Stellaria spp), C. lineolea (recorded on S. graminea), C. lithargyrinella (recorded on S. holostea), C. solitariella (feeds exclusively on S. holostea) and C. striatipennella.
Stellaria media is widespread in North America from the Brooks Range in Alaska to all points south within North America. There are several closely related plants referred to as chickweed, but which lack the culinary and medicinal properties of plants in the genus Stellaria. Plants in the genus Cerastium are very similar in appearance to Stellaria and are in the same family (Carophyllaceae). Stellaria media can be easily distinguished from all other members of this family by examining the stems. Stellaria has fine hairs on only one side of the stem in a single band. Other members of the family Carophyllaceae which resemble Stellaria have hairs uniformly covering the entire stem. This is a favored food of finches and many other seed-eating birds.
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1