The star chickweed (Stellaria pubera) is a perennial herb (3) with white flowers (2) (4) (5). The flowers are made up of five petals (4) about four to eight millimetres long that are so deeply divided that it looks as though there are ten individual petals (5). There are five long sepals up to six millimetres long (2) (4). The flowers grow singly, or in small clusters called inflorescences (5). The number of inflorescences per plant can range from 1 to 15, with most bearing 15 or fewer flowers (6). The leaves grow up to ten centimetres long and four centimetres wide, and are usually attached directly to the stem towards the upper end of the plant, or attached to the stem with a very small stalk called a petiole in the middle or lower part of the plant (4). The star chickweed can grow up to 40 centimetres tall with branched, hairy stems (2). The fruit capsules are shorter than the sepals, about 3.5 to 5.5 millimetres in length (2) (4). They are pale greenish-brown in colour and contain brown kidney-shaped seeds that are 1.5 to 2 millimetres in diameter (2).
- Alsine pubera.
- Height: up to 40 cm (2)
Star chickweed biology
The star chickweed flowers during the spring, between the months of March and May (2) (4). It is self-compatible but not self-pollinating, as the anthers produce their pollen before the stigma of the same flower becomes receptive. The star chickweed therefore requires insect pollination to produce seeds. The stamens remain functional for one to three days before they are pushed outwards to rest on the petals as the stigma enlarges and becomes receptive (6).
Star chickweed range
The star chickweed is found throughout most of the eastern United States (3) (5), from New Jersey to Illinois and south to Florida (4).
Star chickweed habitat
The star chickweed is found in deciduous woodland (5) at elevations of between 100 and 1,000 metres (2).
Star chickweed status
The star chickweed has not yet been assessed by the IUCN.
Star chickweed threats
There are no significant threats currently facing the star chickweed.
Star chickweed conservation
The star chickweed is listed as endangered in Illinois and New Jersey (3).
Find out more
Find out more about the star chickweed:
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- Part of the stamen (the male reproductive organ of a flower) that produces pollen.
- A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
- A small, non-woody, seed bearing plant in which all the aerial parts die back at the end of each growing season.
- The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
- A plant that normally lives for more than two years. After an initial period, the plant usually produces flowers once a year.
- The transfer of pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
- The transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part) of a flower, to the stigma (female part) of the same flower, or a different flower on the same plant.
- A leaf-like, usually green part of the protective outer layer of a flower bud.
- The male reproductive organ of a flower. Each stamen is comprised of an anther (the pollen-producing organ) and a filament (stalk).
- The part of the female reproductive organ of a flower which receives the pollen, and on which the pollen germinates (starts growing).
Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life (February, 2014)
Flora of North America Online (February, 2014)
United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (February, 2014)
Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2001) Flowering Plants: Pokeweeds, Four-o’clocks, Carpetweeds, Cacti, Purslanes, Goosefoots, Pigweeds and Pinks. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois.
Choukas-Bradley, M. (2004) An Illustrated Guide to Eastern Woodland Wildflowers and Trees: 350 Plants Observed at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland. University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Campbell, D.R. (1985) Pollinator sharing and seed set of Stellaria pubera: Competition for pollination. Ecology, 66(2): 544-553.