Jepson eFlora
Key to families | Table of families and genera

Key to Caryophyllaceae

View taxon page for Caryophyllaceae

1. Fruit 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 herb, 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' Fruit 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. Flower or flowers subtended by 2–6 involucre bracts

12. Calyx veins 20–45, tube not scarious between sepals; involucre 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; involucre bracts red to brown, scarious, widely ovate, generally 5–12 mm wide ..... PETRORHAGIA

11' Flower 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 7.5–20 mm, lanceolate to oblong-cylindric or cylindric to urn-shaped, green, not scarious between sepals

15. Perennial herb; 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. Leaf blade oblanceolate to obovate, petiole generally ± present; style 1, 3-branched, 0.1–0.3 mm (stipules not bristle-like) ..... POLYCARPON

17' Leaf blade awl-like to linear, petiole 0; styles 3–5, free, generally 0.3–3 mm (if shorter, then stipules bristle-like)

18. Leaves opposite but appearing whorled due to axillary clusters of 16–30 per node; styles, fruit valves 5 ..... SPERGULA

18' Leaves opposite, often with axillary clusters of < 16 per node but not appearing whorled; styles, fruit valves 3

19. Inflorescence axillary, flowers 1–2; sepals awned; petals 0 or vestigial; stipules bristle-like ..... LOEFLINGIA

19' Inflorescence 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. Fruit cylindric, often ± curved in upper 1/2, opening by (8)10 teeth ..... CERASTIUM

21' Fruit ± ovoid or spheric to cylindric-oblong, 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. Fruit teeth 8; petals (0)4; plant erect; leaf blade ± linear, rigid, acute ..... MOENCHIA

24' Fruit 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. Leaf blades needle-like to narrowly linear, often congested at or near base of flowering stems, tips generally sharp-pointed ..... EREMOGONE

27' Leaf 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

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