Stellaria cupaniana, Stellaria media, Chickweed,
Hebrew: כוכבית גדולה

Scientific name:  Stellaria cupaniana (Jord. & Fourr.) Beguinot
Synonym name:  Stellaria media var. postii Holmboe
Common name:  Chickweed
Hebrew name:  כוכבית גדולה
Plant Family:  Caryophyllaceae, ציפורניים

Stellaria cupaniana, Stellaria media, Chickweed, כוכבית גדולה
Location: Carmel, Hurshat Ha'arbaim

Life form:  Therophyte, annual
Stems:  To 50cm long, 20-30cm tall, decumbent; fine hairs on only one side of the stem in a single band
Leaves:  Opposite, entire, smooth
Flowers:  5 white petals, shorter than the sepals and deeply incised nearly to their base, giving the appearance of flowers with 10 narrow petals; 5 sepals about 5 mm long, oblong-lanceolate in shape with obtuse to acute tips; rounder petals than Stellaria media
Fruits / pods:  Capsule, glabrous, with about 15 seeds; seeds 1mm in diameter, tuberculate, rotund
Flowering Period:  January, February, March, April
Habitat:  Batha, Phrygana
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands
Chorotype:  Pluriregional; boreal-tropical
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Israel Flowers, Nature, Travel
Location: Carmel, Hurshat Ha'arbaim


Derivation of the botanical name:
Stellaria, Latin stella, "star,", referring to the star-shaped flowers.
cupaniana, after the Italian monk Francesco Cupani (1657 - 1710/1711), botanist and author of works on Sicilian plants.
media, in the middle, between; intermediate.
  • The standard author abbreviation Jord. is used to indicate Claude Thomas Alexis Jordan (1814 – 1897), a French botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Fourr. is used to indicate Jules Pierre Fourreau (1844 - 1871, a French botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Beguinot is used to indicate Augusto Béguinot (1902), an Italian botanist of the Regia Universita Degli Studi Padus, italy.
  • The standard author abbreviation Holmboe is used to indicate Jens Holmboe (1880 - 1943), a Norwegian botanist.
Dioscorides (ca. 40-ca. 90), a Greek physician writing in the 1st century AD, described chickweed's applications as follows: "It (chickweed) may usefully be applied with cornmeal for inflammtion of the eyes. The juice may also be introduced into the ear in earache."

Beside chickweed's medicinal uses for humans, John Gerard (1545 - 1611/12), English botanist, commented "Little birds in cages, especially Linnets, are refreshed with the lesser Chickweed, when the loath their meate." Gerard also said that you should boil the leaves of Chickweed in water until they are very soft, adding some lard, fenugreek powder and ground linseed and a few marshmallow roots, mixing together well to make a pultesse (poultice) to be used to remove swelling of the legs or any other swelling. He said also that "the leaves boiled in vinegar and salt are good against mangines of the hands and legs, if they be bathed therewith".

Nicholas Culpeper (1616–1654), English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer, in his Complete Herbal published in the 1600's, described chickweed as "a fine, soft, pleasing herb, under the dominion of the Moon," and he credited chickweed as beneficial for "all pains in the body that arise of heat," mentioning various uses, such as a fomentation of the plant's juice directly on the liver to reduce heat and swelling thereof; this same juice should be used, he said, for redness in the face, itch, scabs, etc. The juice itself or the plant made into an ointment would help cramps, convulsions, and palsy. The juice would help redness of the eyes and redness or swelling "in the privy parts of men and women."

In the 1860s and 1870s three Shaker communities included it in their herb catalogs, noting its use in poultices for ulcers and its value for opthalmia, erysipelas and cutaneous diseases.

Israel, Flowers, Native plants, Botany, Palestine
Location: Carmel, Hurshat Ha'arbaim