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Key to families | Table of families and genera
This text currently parallels The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, Second Edition that is now available at the University of California Press.
Text appearing in blue on this page will not appear in the printed book; it will be displayed only on the Web. Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.
Annual to perennial herb; rarely dioecious (Silene), taprooted or rhizome generally slender.
Leaf: simple, generally opposite (subwhorled), entire, pairs at nodes often ± connected at bases; stipules generally 0; petiole generally 0.
Inflorescence: generally cyme, generally open; flowers 1–many; involucre generally 0 (present in Dianthus, Petrorhagia).
Flower: generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium often present but obscure; sepals (4)5, ± free or fused into a tube, margins generally scarious, more so on inner 2 or not, tube generally not scarious, awns generally 0; petals (4)5 or 0, generally tapered to base (or with claw long, limb expanded), entire to 2–several-lobed, limb generally without scale-like appendages adaxially, generally without ear-like lobes at base; stamens generally 10, generally fertile, generally free, generally from ovary base; nectaries 0 or 5; ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, placentas basal or free-central, styles 2–5 with 0 branches or 1 with 2–3 branches.
Fruit: capsule or utricle (rarely ± dehiscent), generally sessile.
Seed: appendage generally 0 (present in Moehringia).
83 or 89 genera, 3000 species: widespread, especially arctic, alpine, temperate n hemisphere; some cultivated (Agrostemma, Arenaria, Cerastium, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Sagina, Saponaria, Silene, Vaccaria). [Rabeler & Hartman 2005 FNANM 5:3–215] Apetalous Caryophyllaceae can also be keyed in Rabeler & Hartman 2005 FNANM 5:5–8. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
1. Fr utricle (± dehiscent in Achyronychia, Scopulophila); petals 0 or < 0.6 mm, scale-like; stamens on hypanthium rim; stipules present (except Scleranthus), scarious
2. Stipules 0; hypanthium in fruit hard ..... SCLERANTHUS
2' Stipules present; hypanthium in fruit ± hard or not (subfamily Paronychioideae)
3. Sepals widely ovate to reniform or round, margin scarious, awns 0; staminodes 14–19, thread-like, or 5, oblong, petal-like
4. Annual, base ± glabrous; stem prostrate to ascending; staminodes 14–19, ± 0.5 mm, thread-like, not petal-like; nectaries 0; style 2-branched ..... ACHYRONYCHIA
4' Perennial, base densely woolly; stem erect; staminodes (pistillate flowers only) 5, 1–1.5 mm, oblong, petal-like; nectaries 5, wide; style 3-branched ..... SCOPULOPHILA
3' Sepals lanceolate to oblong (if ovate or obovate, margin scarious, awns present, or margin not scarious, awns 0), margins scarious or not; staminodes 0 or 4–5, thread-like
5. Stipules 0.4–1 mm; sepal awn 0, hairs ± long, stiff, often hooked, margin green, not scarious ..... HERNIARIA
5' Stipules 1–8 mm; sepal awn 0.5–4 mm, hairs not as above, margin white, scarious, at least below
6. Sepal awn stout, spine-tipped, 1.5–4 mm; sepals densely woolly ..... CARDIONEMA
6' Sepal awn thread-like to ± stout, ± not spine-tipped, 0.5–1.5 mm; sepals not woolly ..... PARONYCHIA
1' Fr capsule; petals generally present, > (0.6)1 mm, not scale-like; stamens on ovary base or disk surrounding ovary or ovary stalk; stipules generally 0
7. Sepals fused, tube prominent, lobes or teeth < tube (except Agrostemma); petal claw generally > limb, generally appendaged adaxially near limb base (subfamily Silenoideae)
8. Styles 3–5; fruit valves or teeth 3–6 or 10
9. Calyx lobes > tube, generally 12–50 mm, linear, tube strongly 10-ribbed, with long, ascending, appressed hairs ..... AGROSTEMMA
9' Calyx lobes or teeth < tube, < 13 mm, triangular to awl-like, tube not as above (except Lychnis with lobes 4–7 mm)
10. Styles (4)5, flowers bisexual; fruit teeth (4)5; plant densely silky-hairy to tomentose ..... LYCHNIS
10' Styles 3(4,5), if 5 then flowers unisexual (taxa dioecious); fruit teeth 6, 10; plant glabrous or variously hairy but not as above ..... SILENE
8' Styles 2; fruit valves or teeth generally 4
11. Fl or flowers subtended by 2–6 involucre bracts
12. Calyx veins 20–45, tube not scarious between sepals; involucral bracts green, not scarious, linear to lanceolate, generally < 1 mm wide (ovate, 1.5–2.5 mm wide in Dianthus deltoides) ..... DIANTHUS
12' Calyx veins 15, tube scarious between sepals; involucral bracts red to brown, scarious, widely ovate, generally 5–12 mm wide ..... PETRORHAGIA
11' Fl or flowers not subtended by involucre bracts
13. Stamens 5; calyx narrowly cylindric, 0.8–1 mm diam; flowers generally 1 in axils ..... VELEZIA
13' Stamens 10; calyx cup-shaped to widely tubular, 1.5–9 mm diam; flowers few to many, in open to head-like, terminal cyme
14. Calyx tube ± 1.3–5 mm, cup- to bell-shaped, white-scarious between sepals ..... GYPSOPHILA
14' Calyx tube 9–25 mm, ovoid to widely cylindric, green, not scarious between sepals
15. Perennial; inflorescence dense; pedicels generally 0–3 mm; calyx angles or keels 0; petal appendages 2 ..... SAPONARIA
15' Annual; inflorescence open; pedicels 5–40+ mm; calyx angles or keels 5; petal appendages 0 ..... VACCARIA
7' Sepals ± free; petal claw < limb or generally 0, unappendaged
16. Stipules 0.4–11 mm, widely triangular to bristle-like, scarious (subfamily Polycarpoideae)
17. Lf blade oblanceolate to obovate, petiole generally ± present; style 1, 3-branched, 0.1–0.3 mm (stipules not bristle-like) ..... POLYCARPON
17' Lf blade awl-like to linear, petiole 0; styles 3–5, free, generally 0.3–3 mm (if shorter, then stipules bristle-like)
18. Lvs opposite but appearing whorled due to axillary clusters of 16–30 per node; styles, fruit valves 5 ..... SPERGULA
18' Lvs opposite, often with axillary clusters of < 16 per node but not appearing whorled; styles, fruit valves 3
19. Infl axillary, flowers 1–2; sepals awned; petals 0 or vestigial; stipules bristle-like ..... LOEFLINGIA
19' Infl terminal, flowers few to many; sepals not awned; petals present; stipules lanceolate to widely triangular ..... SPERGULARIA
16' Stipules 0 (subfamily Alsinoideae)
20. Petals ± 2-lobed, generally > 1/2 to base (petals sometimes 0 in Stellaria, Cerastium; lobes < 1/5 to base in Pseudostellaria)
21. Fr cylindric, often ± curved in upper 1/2, opening by (8)10 teeth ..... CERASTIUM
21' Fr spheric to ± ovoid, not curved in upper 1/2, opening by 6 (8 or 10) valves
22. Petals 2-lobed < 1/5 to base; fruit spheric, valves ± 2–3 × recoiled; seeds 1–2; rhizomes with tuber-like thickenings 3–12 mm diam or with ± vertical fleshy roots ..... PSEUDOSTELLARIA
22' Petals 0 or 2-lobed > 1/2 to base; fruit ± ovoid or spheric to cylindric-oblong, valves ascending to recurved, not recoiled; seeds several to many; rhizomes with neither tuber-like thickenings nor vertical fleshy root ..... STELLARIA
20' Petals entire, irregularly toothed, or ± notched (sometimes 0 in Minuartia, Moenchia, Sagina)
23. Petals ± irregularly toothed; inflorescence umbel-like; fruit opening by 6 teeth ..... HOLOSTEUM
23' Petals 0 or entire or notched; inflorescence not umbel-like (except Eremogone congesta); fruit opening by 6 or 8 teeth or 3–6 valves
24. Fr teeth 8; petals (0)4; plant erect; leaf blade ± linear, rigid, acute ..... MOENCHIA
24' Fr valves or teeth 3–6; petals 0 or 5 (if 4 then plant not erect, leaf blade not linear, not rigid, not acute)
25. Styles 4–5; fruit valves 4–5 ..... SAGINA
25' Styles 3; fruit valves 3 or 6 or teeth 6
26. Ovary sutures 3; fruit valves 3 ..... MINUARTIA
26' Ovary sutures 6; fruit teeth or valves 6
27. Lf blades needle-like to narrowly linear, often congested at or near base of flowering stems, tips generally sharp-pointed ..... EREMOGONE
27' Lf blades ovate to lanceolate (narrowly so or not), not congested at or near base of flowering stems, tips generally acute to acuminate
28. Seed appendage 0; rhizome 0 ..... ARENARIA
28' Seed appendage ± 0.7 mm, ± elliptic, spongy; rhizome slender, branched ..... MOEHRINGIA
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html [accessed on month, day, year]
Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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