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StarwortStellaria media
Starwort

A Moon herb, according to Culpeper, because of its cooling properties, especially as a tea. In keeping with its Moon aspect, starwort displays "the sleep of plants"--at night the lower leaves fold up and enclose the tender upper parts of the plant (so consider this for protection spells for the young). It is said to taste like lettuce, another Moon plant, when it is added to salads (however, it is considered more digestible when cooked, as lettuce once was).  Moon laxness is apparent in the way this herb flops over the ground. This trait is often seen as a weakness, but we must admit that starwort is one of the most widespread and persistent plants in the world, so it is probably not a good idea to mistake laxness for weakness. Sometimes what appears to be passivity is anything but. It has been used in poppet magic to represent fertility, probably because of its prodigious production of seeds. In Scotland, people drank starwort tea for insomnia, a typical use of a Moon plant, and it is a member of the carnation family, which provides herbs used for dream divination in various cultures. Top

There are some connections to bird magic here, as this plant was traditional fed to caged birds when they felt off, according to Gerard, and in Tuscany, people feed this plant to their chickens to improve their egg-laying. Goldfinches, house finches, and various srots of sparrows enjoy eating the tiny seeds, and various gamebirds eat the leaves themselves. Top

This plant is edible fresh or sauteed in butter, but eating too much can bring out a laxative effect. In North American botanical medicine, a tincture of the whole herb was ingested for gout and liver inflammation. A healing soup was made of it for bronchitis. In homeopathy, starwort was used for rheumatic pains. It was also made into poultices for treating skin irritations like eczema. This plant contains a lot of minerals and has good possibilities in alchemical work focusing on salts. Top

This plant likes to grow on disturbed soil and so is often considered a weed, as gardens are usually composed of disturbed soil, but it is easy to pull or hoe up because its roots are weak. It does make a lot of seeds, though; if you are concerned about it overproducing, grow it in a pot. Starwort also likes moist places, like woodlands and along creeks, and it prefers heavy, mineral-rich soils. The little flowers attracts small bees, and this plant is a favorite of the caterpillars of several moths. It grows most heavily during cool seasons but makes the most seeds during hot, dry times. Starwort indicates high levels of either nitrogen or potassium in the soil. Don't compost unless your pile is very hot, as unripe seed capsules will ripen in the pile. Starwort is also known as chickenwort, chick wittles, chickenmeat, clucken wort, Hashishat Al Qazzaz, skirt buttons, craches, maruns, winterweed, starweed, star chickweed, stitchwort (although this usually refers to another species of Stellaria), adder's mouth, satin flower, tongue grass, white bird's eye, and fliodh. Top

Starwort flowerPress seeds into moist soil. They will germinate in 7-10 days at cool room temperature. Or just barely cover with moist soil outside spacing 10 seeds per foot in the cool periods of fall or spring. Space mature plants at 6-12"/15-30cm apart in rich, moist soil and full sun. Plants get 6-12"/15-30cm tall. Harvest before flowering. Can be dried for tea. General growing info Top

Stellaria media
Starwort
Pkt. of seeds $3.00


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Dreamwork
Protection Spells
Fertility Charms
Bird Magic
Moon Herb

2008, 2015 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission