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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

Annual, ascending to erect, taprooted. Leaf: opposite but appearing whorled due to axillary clusters of 16–30 per node; stipules 1–2 mm, ovate to triangular, entire, scarious, white; vein 1. Inflorescence: terminal; flowers several to many; pedicels 40+ mm. Flower: sepals 5, ± free, 2.5–5 mm, elliptic to ± ovate, glandular-hairy; petals 5, 2.5–4 mm, entire, white; stamens 5 or 10; styles 5, 0.3–0.6 mm. Fruit: capsule, ovoid; valves 5, spreading to ± recurved. Seed: several, ± black.
5 species: temperate Eurasia. (Latin: to scatter, from sowing seeds for early forage in Eur) [Hartman & Rabeler 2005 FNANM 5:14–16]

Plant glabrous or generally glandular-hairy. Stem: 10–40+ cm; base ± branched. Leaf: 1–5 cm, ± linear; tip blunt to abruptly pointed; margin often strongly rolled under. Inflorescence: bracts like stipules, often ± purple; pedicels erect to ascending, in fruit spreading to reflexed. Flower: sepals ± acute to rounded, margin widely scarious, ribs often 3, weak; petals ovate, persistent in fruit. Seed: 1–1.5 mm diam, ± spheric, with ± white, club-shaped papillae or minutely roughened.
2n=18,36. Open slopes, pine woodland, sand dunes, fields, disturbed areas; < 200 m. North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges, n High Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley, Central Western California (except Inner South Coast Ranges), South Coast; scattered in North America, native to Europe. Spring–early summer [Online Interchange]

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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. Spergula, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Spergula arvensis 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.