Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Star Chickweed - Stellaria pubera   Michaux
Members of Caryophyllaceae:
Members of Stellaria with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Caryophyllales » Family Caryophyllaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Mountains and Piedmont; sparingly in the western Coastal Plain in brownwater floodplains (Roanoke and Cape Fear).

This is a species of the middle part of the Eastern states, ranging from PA and IL south to central GA and MS, and barely to western FL.
AbundanceCommon in the Mountains and Piedmont. Locally fairly common along the Roanoke and Cape Fear floodplains, to Martin and Bladen counties.
HabitatThis species occurs in rich or moist forests. It grows best on lower hardwood slopes, but it also grows in bottomland forests.
PhenologyBlooms from April into June, and fruits shortly after flowering. It withers soon after fruiting -- i.e., is a spring ephemeral species.
IdentificationThis is a rather short herb that grows erect or leaning, but only to about 6-9 inches long, and can be longer after flowering is concluded. It has numerous pairs of elliptical leaves, generally sessile, and about 2 inches long and nearly half as wide. At the ends of the stem, just above the upper pair of leaves, is a small flower cluster. Each of the 5 white petals is strongly split down the middle, so as to appear to be 10 petals; the spread flower is about 1/2-inch across. In this species, the 5 sepals are ovate and slightly shorter than the petals, such that the petals are more showy looking (and the sepals often cannot be seen from the front) than in the very similar S. corei, where the sepals are long and acuminate and protrude beyond the petals. Stellaria pubera is a quite familiar spring wildflower, common on many rich forested slopes, and the "10" petals are quite distinctive. It does not grow in dense colonies like S. corei does, but it still can occur in sizable patches.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Giant Chickweed, Great Chickweed, Common Starwort
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieWhite Pines Preserve, mesic hardwood-pine slope, 16 Apr 2024. ChathamPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieClark Park, mesic small ravine. April 2001. Scan from slide.
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