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Chickweed

It is very sad. I have no chooks at the moment. And I have chickweed (Stellaria media) going beserk in my garden right now.  It is edible – lots of vitamins and minerals and not too bad an addition to a salad.  But that uses at most a cupful, and I have a wheelbarrowful. But for those of you with chickens, look out for this herb.  It’s a low growing tangle of stems with bright green soft-crisp leaves and tiny white flowers, and chooks love it.

There are two other herbs in my garden that look somewhat similiar.  One is Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) which is poisonous.  It is distinguished by orange flowers and a stem that is square rather than round.

The other is petty spurge (Euphorbia Peplus), which is very poisonous so definitely not to be confused.  It is easy to tell apart – though the leaves are similar (ish), petty spurge is a little upright plant rather than a sprawler.  It has a single stem, and milky sap that is caustic.  Petty spurge is also called radium weed, and it’s an old herbal treatment for skin cancer with quite some scientific data now showing it is effective.  I use it on my keratoses.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Sonya October 2, 2010, 2:37 pm

    Our chooks are enjoying plenty of chickweed at the moment!

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial October 3, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Please send your spare chickweed our way, Linda! Ever since we read about it in your book, we’ve been trying to hunt it down – only just recently found seed for it, so it’s now growing in the garden! 🙂

  • cityhippyfarmgirl October 4, 2010, 1:44 pm

    Alpacas too. I have just spent the last few days weeding a very large vegetable garden, (where the chick weed was abundant) then my eldest son lovingly hand feeding 2 alpacas. They were very greatful 🙂

  • magnific November 1, 2010, 7:57 pm

    this is the way a blog should be! thanks!

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