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Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler, except as noted

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 northern 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.

Key to Caryophyllaceae


Ronald L. Hartman, Richard K. Rabeler & Dieter H. Wilken

Annual to perennial herb, ± erect, from caudex, taproot, or rhizome; rarely dioecious. Leaf: petioled or not; linear to oblanceolate, vein 1. Inflorescence: generally terminal, open to dense; flowers few to many, pedicels generally 5–40+ mm. Flower: generally erect, generally bisexual; sepals 5, fused, tube prominent, 4–38 mm, 2–13 mm diam, cylindric to bell-shaped, rounded, hairs various or 0 (walls between hair cells generally clear), veins generally 10+, generally dark, lobes or teeth 1–13 mm, < tube, triangular to linear; petals 5, 6–62 mm, claw long, limb entire or 2–6-lobed, appendages at junction of claw, limb 0–6, generally 2, basal lobes present or 0; stamens generally fertile, bases fused with petal bases to ovary stalk; ovary chamber 1 or ± incompletely 3–5, styles 3(4,5; if 5 then flowers unisexual, taxon dioecious), 1–35 mm. Fruit: capsule, cylindric to ovoid; stalk (from ovary stalk) 0–7 mm, generally glabrous; teeth 6 or 10, ascending to recurved. Seed: many, gray to red, brown, or black.
700 species: North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, introduced ± worldwide. (Greek: probably from mythological Silenus) [Morton 2005 FNANM 5:166–214] Oxelman et al. (2001 Nordic J Bot 20: 743–748) including data for disarticulation of Silene into four additional genera, including for California Lychnis (Lychnis coronaria) and Atocion (Atocion armeria (L.) Raf., as Silene armeria here).
Unabridged etymology: (Greek: probably from mythological Silenus, intoxicated foster-father of Bacchus, who was covered with foam; from sticky secretions of many species)

Key to Silene

S. verecunda S. Watson SAN FRANCISCO CAMPION
Perennial herb 10–55 cm; caudex branches few to many. Stem: erect, ± scabrous to puberulent, glandular above or not. Leaf: ± gradually reduced upward, stiff to flexible; lower 3–9 cm, 2–9 mm wide, generally lanceolate; middle spreading to erect; upper 1–4.5 cm, 2–6 mm wide, linear to lanceolate. Flower: calyx 10–15 mm, ± densely puberulent to glandular-puberulent, 10-veined, lobes 2–5 mm; petal claw ciliate throughout or at base, appendages 2, limb white to rose, lobes 2; stamens ± = petal claws; styles 3(4), exserted. Fruit: oblong to ovoid; stalk 2–5 mm, puberulent. Seed: 1–1.5 mm, dark brown to black.
2n=48. Open areas, chaparral, sagebrush, oak woodland, pinyon/juniper woodland, conifer forest; < 3400 m. c&s North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada (except n Sierra Nevada Foothills, Tehachapi Mountain Area), Sacramento Valley (Sutter Buttes), Central Western California (except s Central Coast), Southwestern California, White and Inyo Mountains, Desert Mountains; to Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Baja California. [Silene verecunda subsp. andersonii (Clokey) C.L. Hitchc. & Maguire; Silene verecunda subsp. platyota (S. Watson) C.L. Hitchc. & Maguire; Silene verecunda subsp. verecunda; Silene verecunda var. eglandulosa C.L. Hitchc. & Maguire; Silene verecunda var. platyota (S. Watson) Jeps.; Silene verecunda var. verecunda] Summer [Online Interchange]

Previous taxon: Silene suksdorfii
Next taxon: Silene vulgaris


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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Silene, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Silene verecunda Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.