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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, perennial herb, erect to mat-forming, taprooted. Leaf: not congested at base of flowering stems; blades narrowly lanceolate to ovate; veins 1–5. Inflorescence: terminal or axillary; flowers 1–many; peduncles, pedicels 1–50 mm. Flower: sepals 5, ± free, 1.5–4 mm, ± lanceolate to widely ovate, glabrous to glandular-hairy; petals 0 or 5, 1.5–6 mm, entire; stamens 10; styles 3, 0.5–2 mm. Fruit: capsule, ovoid to urn-shaped; teeth 6, ascending to recurved. Seed: 8–20, gray- or dark brown.
210 species: northern temperate, especially mountains, South America, Eurasia. (Latin: sand, a common habitat) [Hartman, Rabeler, & Utech 2005 FNANM 5:51–56] Based in part on molecular evidence, most taxa moved to Eremogone.
Unabridged references: [McNeill 1980 Rhodora 82:495–502; Hartman, Rabeler, & Utech 2005 FNANM 5:51–56]
Unabridged note: Based in part on molecular evidence, taxa in 2 of McNeill's subgenera here included in Eremogone.

Key to Arenaria

A. serpyllifolia L. var. serpyllifolia THYMELEAF SANDWORT
Annual, tufted or stems trailing, green. Stem: 3–25 cm, dull; hairs minute, down-curved. Leaf: 2–7 mm, 1–4 mm wide, ± ovate, acute to acuminate; veins generally 3–5. Inflorescence: terminal; flowers few to many; pedicels 1–12 mm. Flower: sepals 2.5–3 mm, in fruit < 4 mm, narrowly acute to acuminate; petals 0.6–2.7 mm. Seed: 10–15, 0.5–0.6 mm, widely reniform, plump, ± gray; tubercles low, elongate.
2n=40. Disturbed areas, sand, gravel bars, dry woodland; 150–1800 m. Northwestern California, n&c Sierra Nevada Foothills, South Coast, Modoc Plateau; ± North America; native to Europe. [Arenaria serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia] Spring–summer [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: 1 other var., in eastern United States, Australia, native to Europe, Asia, Africa.

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 29 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Arenaria, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Mar 29 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Arenaria serpyllifolia var. serpyllifolia 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.