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Upright Chickweed

Moenchia erecta

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
12 centimetres tall
Cliffs, grassland, heathland, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, wasteland.

White, 4 petals
Unlike other chickweeds, Upright Chickweed only has 4 petals per flower. Most other chickweeds have 5 petals. Petals are not notched. The sepals are longer than the petals. Flowers measure 7 to 9mm in size.
The fruit is a capsule.
An annual flower with unstalked, very narrow linear leaves. Leaves are bluish-green and in opposite pairs up the stems. This species is misnamed and is in fact not a chickweed, it is a species of stitchwort. Stems are erect.
Other Names:
Dwarf Chickweed, Erect Chickweed, Upright Moenchia.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Moenchia erecta, also known as upright moenchia, is a small annual herb that belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in grassy areas, meadows, and along the roadside. The plant has small, dark green leaves and delicate white or pink flowers that bloom in the summer. It is often used as a medicinal plant and is known for its mild astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions and respiratory issues. Some people also use it as a natural remedy for digestive problems.


Upright chickweed (Moenchia erecta) is a low-growing herbaceous plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It has a reputation for being an invasive weed in many parts of the world, including North America. Despite its weed-like tendencies, Moenchia erecta has a number of interesting qualities that make it worth mentioning.


Upright chickweed has thin, delicate stems that can grow up to 40 cm tall. Its leaves are small and oval-shaped, with a smooth surface and toothed edges. The plant produces small white flowers that have five petals and grow in clusters at the ends of the stems.


Upright chickweed is found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, pastures, and waste ground. It is well adapted to disturbed areas and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. This makes it an ideal weed for areas that have been altered by human activity.


Upright chickweed is often used as a medicinal plant. It is known to have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for treating skin conditions such as eczema and rashes. The plant is also believed to have diuretic and expectorant properties, making it useful for treating respiratory problems.

In addition to its medicinal uses, upright chickweed is also an important food source for wildlife. The small seeds of the plant are a favored food of many species of birds, and the leaves and stems are eaten by rabbits and other small mammals.


Despite its many benefits, upright chickweed can be a nuisance when it invades gardens and lawns. To control its growth, it is important to remove the plant before it has a chance to produce seeds. This can be done by hand or by using a selective herbicide. It is also important to prevent the plant from spreading by removing any debris that may contain seeds.

Moenchia erecta, or upright chickweed, is a low-growing herbaceous plant that is native to Europe and Asia. Despite its reputation as an invasive weed, it has a number of interesting qualities, including its medicinal uses and importance as a food source for wildlife. If you encounter this plant in your garden or lawn, it is important to remove it to prevent its spread.


Upright chickweed is not commonly cultivated, but it can be grown in the home garden as a groundcover or as a filler plant in mixed borders. The plant prefers a sunny or partially shaded location with moist, well-drained soil. It is easy to grow and requires very little maintenance, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who want a low-maintenance groundcover.


Upright chickweed can be propagated by seed or by dividing established clumps. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden in the spring or fall, or they can be started indoors in pots. If you decide to divide established clumps, it is best to do so in the spring or fall when the plant is not actively growing. Simply dig up the clump and divide it into smaller pieces, making sure each piece has a good root system.

Invasive Qualities

As previously mentioned, upright chickweed is considered an invasive weed in many parts of the world, including North America. This is because it is able to spread rapidly, often outcompeting native plants for resources. It is important to be mindful of this when growing Moenchia erecta in the home garden, as it can easily spread beyond its intended boundaries. To prevent this, it is important to remove any dead foliage that may contain seeds and to avoid letting the plant go to seed.

In summary, Moenchia erecta is an interesting plant that has a variety of uses, both medicinal and ornamental. Despite its reputation as an invasive weed, it can be an attractive addition to the home garden when grown in the right conditions. If you are considering growing upright chickweed, be mindful of its invasive qualities and take steps to prevent it from spreading beyond its intended boundaries.

Traditional Medicine

In traditional medicine, upright chickweed has been used to treat a variety of ailments. In ancient Greece, the plant was used to soothe skin irritations and wounds, while in medieval Europe, it was used as a remedy for respiratory problems and digestive complaints. In traditional Chinese medicine, the plant is still used today as a diuretic and expectorant, and is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Despite its long history of use in traditional medicine, the effectiveness of Moenchia erecta as a medicinal plant has not been extensively studied. While some anecdotal evidence suggests that the plant may have therapeutic properties, further research is needed to establish its safety and efficacy. As with any medicinal plant, it is important to consult a qualified healthcare provider before using upright chickweed for medicinal purposes.

Eco-friendly Solution

In addition to its traditional uses, upright chickweed is also seen as an eco-friendly solution for certain problems. For example, it has been used as a green alternative to chemical weed killers in organic farming, as it is able to suppress the growth of other plants without causing harm to the environment. The plant is also used as a cover crop in certain areas, helping to prevent soil erosion and provide habitat for wildlife.


In conclusion, Moenchia erecta, or upright chickweed, is a fascinating plant with a rich history of use in traditional medicine and as an eco-friendly solution to certain problems. While it is considered an invasive weed in many parts of the world, it has many interesting qualities that make it worth mentioning. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its use as a cover crop, or simply its ornamental value, upright chickweed is a plant worth exploring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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