Chickweed is a familiar garden weed recognisable by its tiny white flowers.
The seeds were once fed to birds, chickens love it, which is how the plant earned its common name. Its latin name, Stellaria Media, comes from the star-like flowers.
Chickweed is a highly nutritious plant that grows nearly everywhere. It grows readily as a “weed” in most gardens so the best place to forage might be just outside your own back door! It likes to grow on disturbed soil, which is why it is often the first plant to reappear after weeding, so can be found in garden borders, plant pots, agricultural land, and under trees where animals have disturbed the ground.
The whole plant can be eaten raw, added to a salad or cooked like spinnach. It has a high Vitamin C content and sailors used to eat it to stave off scurvy. Wilt the leafy stems in a knob of butter, add spring onions and eat as a vegetable. The tiny white, edible flowers make a pretty salad garnish.
As it flowers all year round, Chickweed is important for pollinators and also provides food for small birds.
If you are going to forage, please follow the simple guidelines:
- Always be sure you are sure of the plant before you pick it and never eat any plant you are unsure of.
- Leave plenty behind for wildlife.
- Make sure you have permission to pick
- Only pick where plants are plentiful