Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed)

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-6.

Greater Chickweed

Stellaria neglecta

stell-AR-ee-uh  nay-GLEK-tuh

Synonyms of Stellaria neglecta (20)(Updated on 4-4-23 from Plants of the World Online): Alsine neglecta Lej. (1825), Stellaria catalaunica Sennen in Bull. Soc. Bot. France 68: 405 (1921 publ. 1922), Stellaria gracilipes Raunk. (1934), Stellaria media var. candollei Briq. (1910), Stellaria media subsp. catalaunica (Sennen & Pau) Sennen (1931), Stellaria media proles catalaunica Sennen & Pau (1917), Stellaria media var. decandra Fenzl (1842), Stellaria media var. ellipticifolia Rouy & Foucaud (1896), Stellaria media var. major W.D.J.Koch (1836)(nom. superfl.), Stellaria media subsp. major Arcang. (1882), Stellaria media var. neglecta (Lej.) Mert. & W.D.J.Koch (1831)(nom. superfl.), Stellaria media proles neglecta (Weihe) Rouy & Foucaud (1896), Stellaria media subsp. neglecta (Lej.) Gremli (1874), Stellaria media var. procera Klatt & Richt. (1830), Stellularia media var. neglecta (Lej.) Kuntze (1891)(nom. superfl.), Stellaria media var. ovalifolia Rouy & Foucaud (1896), Stellaria media subsp. umbrosa (Opiz) Nyman (1878), Stellaria neglecta var. prespaensis Micevski (1988 publ. 1991), Stellaria octandra Pobed. (1929), Stellaria vernalis Raunk. (1934)

Stellaria neglecta (Lej.) Weihe is the accepted scientific name for this species of Stellaria. It was named and described as such by Carl Ernst August Weihe Compendium Florae Germaniae in 1825. It was first named and described as Alsine neglecta by Alexandre Louis (Alexander Ludwig) Simon Lejeune in Revue de la Flore des Environs de Spa in 1825.

The genus, Stellaria L, was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

As of 4-4-23 when this page was written, Plants of the World Online lists 173 species in the Stellaria genus. It is a member of the plant family Caryophyllaceae with 100 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Distribution map of Stellaria neglecta from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on April 4, 2023.

The above distribution map for Stellaria neglecta is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on BONAP (the Biota of North America Program) shows the species has been found in 10-12 states in the U.S., including Missouri. 

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations. I post all my observations on iNaturalist.


Stellaria media (Common Chickweed) on the left and Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on the right on 4-2-23, #936-8.

A weird thing happened on April 2 (2023) when I was taking a few photos of the Stellaria media (Common Chickweed) in the flower bed on the north side of the house. There is chickweed on the farm from one end to the other, some in VERY LARGE colonies. One group under a few Chinese Elms behind the chicken house has its own country. Chickweed is chickweed… Anyway, when I updated the Stellaria media page I decided I needed better photos of the stems, leaves, and sepals. As I was doing that, I noticed some chickweed at the bottom of the steps that were a little larger.

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-2.

I remembered there was also chickweed along the back of the house by the AC, so I went to have a look. They were HUGE in comparison to any other chickweed here, so I thought it would be much better to take photos of the leaves and stems. The others are so small you have to take about 100 photos to get a few good ones. So, I took a few photos of the plants next to the AC.

After I uploaded the photos on my computer and went through them to choose the best, I uploaded them on iNaturalist. Not for an ID because I already knew what the species was. I just wanted to post the observation. After all, chickweed is chickweed. Yeah, I realize there are 100 species of Stellaria, but here on the farm, there is only one. Oddly when I uploaded the photos and went to put in the species name, iNaturalist suggested Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) with no other species to choose from. Well, I knew what I uploaded was Stellaria media, so I typed it in manually…

Then I got to thinking… “Hmmm, what is Stellaria neglecta?” I typed the name in the browser and a Wikipedia article came up first. It said Stellaria media and S. neglecta were almost identical except S. neglecta is much larger and the flowers have 8-10 stamens instead of 3-7 like S. media.

I went outside to check the stamens and the flowers were closing so I had to wait until the next day. I went to the Missouri Plants website and they didn’t even list Stellaria neglecta. BUT, they did say it is a lookalike of Stellaria media.

The next day, I looked at the stamens of the flowers behind the house with a magnifying glass and HOLY CRAP! I didn’t count them, but they definitely had more than 3-7. Had discovered Stellaria neglecta?

I took LOTS of photos of the flowers using 1-2 magnifying glasses in front of the lens and wound up with just a few good ones. I think I have a good camera, but it isn’t super-duper when it comes to taking close-ups. Then I went to iNaturalist and removed the photos of S. neglecta that I put on the S. media observation and made two for S. neglecta (one for each day). There are more photos I took at the bottom of the page under the links for further information.

Stellaria neglecta is an introduced species from Europe. Initially, it was considered a subspecies of Stellaria media. Although the Wikipedia article says S. neglecta is “widely distributed throughout Europe”… “but is nowhere common.” Also, “In North America, it was formerly rare, but it has spread rapidly in recent decades and is now considered a weed in a number of states, from Maryland to California.”

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-6.

Hmmm… So rapidly that the USDA Plants Database only shows it was introduced in New York and uses the scientific name Stellaria media subsp. neglecta. A little out of date, huh? The USDA gets their data from BONAP (The Biota of North America Program) but their map shows their presence in 10-12 states INCLUDING Missouri. Plants of the World Online and Flora of North America show 8 states, not including Missouri.

Stellaria neglecta is an annual or winter annual species. It is similar to Stellaria media but is a larger more robust plant, having larger flowers, leaves, fruit, and seeds.

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-1.

Stellaria neglecta produces flowers from April-July then the flowering parts decay. Wikipedia says the stems produce “tillers” that overwinter and produce flowers the following year. Hmmm… 

Stellaria neglecta prefers a habitat that is damp and shady, whereas S. media will grow just about anywhere.

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-2-23, #936-9.

The stems of Stellaria neglecta grow from about 14 to 24” long (or longer). Stems start out growing erect, but soon become sprawling due to being weak and from the weight of the leaves.

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-7.

The stems have short white glandular hairs in longitudinal lines between leaf nodes.

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-2-23, #936-12.

The leaves, broadly ovate to broadly elliptic, grow from around 3/16 to about 2” long depending on their location. The base of the leaves are rounded to wedge-shaped, while the tips are pointed. The margins are smooth (no teeth) and have a few short hairs (pubescent).

Stellaria neglecta photo taken by fellow iNaturalist member Geneva Green on April 23, 2022 in Efland North Carolina. Photo used by permission.

The stems terminate with 1 to several “cymes” of white flowers. The flowers may be up to 1” or as small as 1/8” in diameter.

Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) taken by fellow iNaturalist member, Link Davis in Pennsylvania. Used by permission.

Flowers have 5 petals that are deeply cleft making them appear to have 10 petals. The flowers are subtended by 5 sepals, equal to or usually longer than the petals. Flowers include 8-10 stamens with purplish anthers and 1 style with a weird 3-parted stigma. You may encounter flowers whose stigmas appear to be missing… Information online also says sometimes you may find flowers with no petals. Personally, all the sepals I have seen of both Stellaria neglecta and S. media are longer than the petals. So, in my opinion, sepal length isn’t a deciding factor. It is mainly the size of the plants and the number of stamens… 

Stellaria media (Greater Chickweed) photo taken by fellow iNaturalist Member in Pennsylvania. Used by permission.

The above photo of Stellaria media taken by iNaturalist member Link Davis is very interesting. Notice the difference between the stamens. Five with pollen and five without…

I want to thank fellow iNaturalist members Link Davis and Geneva Green for allowing me to use their great photos. Mr. Davis is from Pennsylvania and takes absolutely amazing photos. He shared several photos of Stellaria media and S. neglecta and it was difficult to choose which ones to use. He has published over 27,000 (and growing) observations on iNaturalist. Geneva Green has posted nearly 700 observations on iNaturalist from mainly from Arkansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Both are very active wildflower hunters.

It’s confusing when descriptions vary from one site to another. At least with this species, there isn’t much information online… 

Flowers are replaced by greenish to greenish-yellow fruit (which were the ovaries). It’s always interesting how the sepals that surrounded the buds fold back up to enclose the fruit. The dried seed capsules open by 6 slightly curved valves to reveal the seeds. Seeds are brown to dark brown and have small tubercles. 

I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by. Although the flowers are tiny, practice makes perfect…

I live on the family farm in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street, and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be variable from location to location, so that can be a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.

I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.


NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂


Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-2-23, #936-10.


Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-2-23, #936-11.


Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-3.


Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-4.


Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-5.


Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-8.


Stellaria neglecta (Greater Chickweed) on 4-3-23, #937-9.