DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.
This little star in the mist is known and loved by many a homesteader and natural food grazer, of course I am talking about chickweed. Our little Stellaria media is popping up almost everywhere here in Michigan. Chickens love it, healers dig it (see what I did there?), and tasty foods include it on the tables. Kitchen witches, raise your forks and your pestles and prepare to get to know this treasure in your midst.
You will find your prize located near wetter areas usually, although some folks have it as a ground cover. It is usually seen as a weed, since it is a very fertile annual and likes to increase its number, kind of like taxes and incense collections. It will pop up again if it was there last year, barring unnatural interference and prevention. But why prevent it? It has many uses.
Primarily, eat it. This plant, unless near a toxic area, and if identified properly, is usually perfectly same to eat. Yum yum, eat the little darling, but only in moderation, as its leaves contain saponins. While they are not necessarily harmful to us in normal amounts, no need to go overdoing it.
Unlike many wild edibles, the chickweed’s stems, leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible. It does hold nitrates and people with allergies to daisies might want to pass it by. Only the Mouse-ear chickweed has to be cooked. – by
This is the wonderful time of year when we are experiencing the pop of crocus and the songs of birds all around us, and this is a great time to enjoy a nice treat on your table from the garden.
Understanding that we can eat in season to vary our diet is important to good health and keeping in harmony with the turning of the Wheel of the Year. There is a lovely recipe for chickweed bread at Eat The Weeds.
For the healers out there, time to get your snippers out and ready your collection satchels. This is a useful contribution to your salve cabinet. It has a virtual buffet of uses for remedies.
Try to wait until after Beltane to gather it. Remember, always take a modest harvest of any wild growing things. Be mindful and respectful when you gather, and leave something for thanks. I always encouraged my students in the Black Moon Grove to do this, and they are very good about leaving plant spikes (a thank you to our Grove Leader for that lovely innovation over just cornmeal or silver).
To explore its magickal properties, keep in mind that it is usually associated with lunar energy. Mysteries and workings with relationships, fertility (seeds are prolific, so yeah….), and birds love it, so if you are working with them this is the plant for you.
Incenses made with this plant draw in those energies as well. Dry a bit for your incense cabinet. Hang upside down for easiest uniform results.
You can find some seeds here at Alchemy Works, if you cannot find it wild. A little patch in grown in a corner, or even in an old cracked teapot, can give us just the right amount of space for this bit of tiny-petaled joy.
Enjoy this song, “Chick Weed.aif” by Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues.