Chickweed

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

chickweed Stellaria media, is the best known of a group of related small plants which have played a minor role in the diet of various peoples.

Chickweed is so called because poultry like it. A pleasant old English name for it is ‘hen’s inheritance’. It grows wild in temperate regions all over the world, and resists the cold, so that it is a useful source of greenstuff in winter. The classical Greeks and Romans liked chickweed and sometimes even cultivated it, although supplies from the wild are abundant. It was also popular in ancient Japan. The young green leaves may be raw or cooked. The flavour is between that of spinach and cabbage. The plant is best eaten in the spring.