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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


1 sp. (Latin: cow, from use as fodder or prevalence in pastures) [Thieret & Rabeler 2005 FNANM 5:156]

V. hispanica (Mill.) Rauschert
Annual (8)20–100 cm, glabrous, glaucous, taprooted. Leaf: 2–12 cm, petioled or not; blade lanceolate to ovate, base rounded to cordate-clasping; vein 1. Inflorescence: terminal, ± flat-topped, open; flowers 10–70+; bracts paired, leaf-like; pedicels 5–40+ mm. Flower: sepals 5, fused, glabrous, tube prominent, 7.5–17 mm, 1.5–9 mm diam, cylindric to urn-shaped, angles or keels 5, each with ± green wing < 1 mm wide; veins 5, teeth 1.5–3 mm, ovate to triangular; petals 5, 15–25 mm, claw long, limb oblanceolate to obovate or obcordate, pink to ± red, unappendaged; styles 2, 10–12 mm. Fruit: capsule, ovoid; stalk 0.5–1 mm; teeth 4, ascending to recurved. Seed: many, 1.6–1.8 mm, ± spheric, red-brown to black; tubercles fine, low.
2n=30. Disturbed areas; < 2800 m. Klamath Ranges, North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, c Sierra Nevada Foothills, n High Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area, Sacramento Valley, Central Western California, South Coast, Peninsular Ranges, Great Basin Floristic Province; ± North America; native to Eurasia, Mediterranean. [Saponaria hispanica Mill.; Saponaria vaccaria L.; Vaccaria segetalis (Necker) Asch.] Likely eradicated from grain fields. May–Aug [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 27 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Vaccaria, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 27 2015

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click for enlargement Vaccaria hispanica
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2007 Louis-M. Landry

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Vaccaria hispanica 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.