Shhh... The Chickweed Is Sleeping

It’s nighttime here at May Dreams Gardens, just a few days before winter officially arrives.

Shhh… if you decide to venture outside where it is a cold 20 F, please don’t wake up the chickweed, Stellaria media.

Apparently, it’s sleeping the ‘sleep of plants’. According to, at night the leaves of chickweed fold over the tender buds to protect them. Isn’t that sweet? This ‘sleep of plants’ isn’t something all plants do, but apparently chickweeds do it and so do many legumes.

Don’t tell anyone, but I think chickweed is a cute little plant. With a little “reform work” and some good PR, I think it could be a decent enough ground cover or perhaps a cute little house plant. It is edible, too, as are other common weeds like purslane and dandelions.

I wonder what happened to chickweed, purslane, and dandelions that they became weeds instead of vegetables we cultivate in our gardens. What wrong turn did they take? How did they become so uncivilized?

Or are they all that uncivilized? Maybe we, the gardeners, are the ones who are uncivilized, not appreciating the qualities of these plants?

Think on that, and discuss amongst yourselves how this happens that some plants end up as weeds and others end up as cultivated plants. But keep your voices down, the chickweed is sleeping right outside.


Many thanks to all who showed us their December blooms for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th. Winter has certainly reduced our blooms significantly, but there are still many flowers to be found. If you get a few minutes, check out some of the links on Mr. Linky, and visit a few of them to see how they compare to your garden this month!


  1. Lovely and important post! Why indeed do edible plants rich in minerals and vitamins acquire the tags of 'weeds'. Now I will go back to sleep and dream about everyone rethinking. I love your metaphors Carol.

  2. Many thoughts to ponder when it comes to gardening..

  3. aah, Chickweed is almost human like in a motherly sweet way, what a cute little ..dare I say weed."

    Carol you find the cutest things to post.

  4. In European markets, purslane and dandelion are commonly grown for sale. I found several different varieties of dandelion offered! And, there is a restaurant near Louisville that was paying $7/lb for chickweed! I just wished I lived closer. I have plenty to thrives under my greenhouse benches when I don't have time to clear it out.

  5. As the commonweeder I especially appreciate any post that mentions dandelions - my favorite common weed. And I saw dandelion greens for sale at the supermarket not long ago. Very good for you.

  6. Don't tell anyone, but I've always loved dandelions! As I've learned more about wildflowers this past year, I've had much the same thoughts. Many of these plants I learned to identify as a youngster, but my Dad called them weeds. I guess it's all in your perspective.

  7. What happened is that they escaped from cultivation. Would we think tomatoes were that wonderful if they were popping up all over the lawn? (That's a rhetorical question.) BTW, my great-great aunt was thrilled with all the dandelions growing in our lawn. She cooked dandelion greens.

  8. You will never convince me that chickweed or purslane should be welcomed into the garden! I battle the former all winter long and the latter all summer. A pox upon them!

  9. I wonder what happened to chickweed, purslane, and dandelions that they became weeds? Could it be that they have bad karma? :-)

  10. Refrigeration happened.

    Now that we can truck in fresh greens any time of the year, we no longer crave the first fresh greens of spring; we no longer eagerly hunt for these first greens to awaken from their sleep.

    I feel the same way about henbit. I keep a little in my garden for the first butterflies.

  11. I love my chickweed! It's one of the only things that grows in the shady part of my yard between houses, and since it stays low it's basically just lawn. Plus, cute little white flowers for those observant enough to find them. I had no idea anyone would actually pay money for it!

  12. The bees appreciate the earliest blooming wild weedflowers so I let them stay. Like coneflower said~~They are my only grass in some parts of the garden. gail

  13. I love purslane and dandelions (we don't get a lot of chickweed here)! I think some day in the distant future, when 'bio-diversity' has become much less diversified and we have become an ancient civilization to be studied, children will stare in disbelief when they learn that a perfect mono-culture carpet of green, covered in poisonous chemicals was a sign of 'prosperity' in our culture...


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