Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
English: Chickweeds, stitchworts, starworts.
Caryophyllaceae, Pink family.
Published in Sp. Pl. 421. 1753.
Vegetative morphology. Plants (0.5–)1–10(–15) cm high; perennial herbs; sometimes vegetatively proliferating by bulbils on stems or leaves (loose stem fragmentation), or never vegetatively proliferating by bulbils on stems or leaves, in inflorescences, from gemmiphores and gemmae, or by fragmentation. Only fibrous roots present. Ground level or underground stems horizontal; stoloniferous; elongate; 0.3–1.5 mm wide. Caudex absent. Aerial stems erect, or ascending, or decumbent, or prostrate. Aerial stem trichomes spreading, or erect. Leaves distributed along the stems; opposite; marcescent. Petioles absent. Leaf blade bases attenuate. Blades 1–15(–40) mm long, 0.5–5 mm wide, spreading, elliptic or lanceolate or ovate, flat or strongly keeled, appearing single-veined or with inconspicuous veins. Blade adaxial surface dull or glaucous, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface glabrous. Blade margins glabrous; apices acute.
Reproductive morphology. Flowering stems with leaves. Flowering stems hairy. Flowering stems pubescent. Flowering stem hairs simple; white or translucent. Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences. Inflorescences with flowers in a dichasium; terminal, or lateral. Flowers per inflorescence 1–6; small, or medium-sized. Sepals conventional; 5; free; 2–6 mm wide; green, or green and purple; herbaceous, or herbaceous and scarious (on the margins). Calyx glabrous, or hairy. Calyx hairs glandular, or non-glandular; white or translucent (if applicable). Petals conventional; free; longer than the calyx; 5; white; obovate; deeply cleft (almost to the base); 2.5–8 mm long. Stamens 10; stamen filaments glabrous. Anthers yellow, or red; ellipsoid; 0.1–1 mm long. Ovary superior; carpels 3; syncarpous. Ovaries ovate; glabrous. Styles present; 3; free; 1–3 mm long. Stigmas per ovary 1. Placentation free central. Ovules per ovary 10–25. Fruit with calyx persisting; dry; a capsule; ovoid; black, or straw-coloured; 3–6 mm long; 1.2–3 mm wide; surface appearing veinless; dehiscent; opening with teeth at the top of the capsule; teeth 6. Seeds few to several; 0.5–1 mm long; brown; surfaces smooth, verrucose, rugose.
Chromosome information. 2n = 26, or 52–107.
Economic uses. An introduced weedy species of chickweed (S. media) is now widely established in gardens and cultivated fields north along the Mackenzie River area. It is widely used as a potherb, salad herb, flavoring and medicinal herb. Stellaria species were not traditionally used by the Inuit (Burt 2000).
Illustrations. • Stellaria crassifolia. Plant in flower, delicate and glabrous in all parts, with freely branching and densely matted, slender stems. N.W.T., Tuktoyaktuk, near Pingo Park Lodge, 69°26'N, 133°01'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–116. CAN. • Stellaria humifusa. Plants growing prostrate on and sprawling across imperfectly drained mud flats in an extensive salt meadow. Manitoba, Churchill, Beech Bay, in the tidal estuary of the Churchill River, south of the Port, 58°44'N, 94°10'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–022. CAN. Scale bar in cm. • Stellaria longipes. Plant similar in appearance to S. monantha but 'fresh green' and shiny. Nunavut, Rankin Inlet, adjacent to the graveyard, 62°48'N, 92° 06'W. Aiken and Brysting 01–057. CAN.
This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.
Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.
Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa..