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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, ± prostrate, taprooted. Leaf: opposite below, alternate above, oblanceolate to obovate; vein 0–1; stipules 0.4–1 mm, ovate to deltate, scarious, ciliate, white. Inflorescence: axillary; flowers 3–10, dense, ± sessile. Flower: hypanthium cup-like, not abruptly expanded above; sepals 5, 0.6–1.2 mm, free, lanceolate to oblong, hairy, margin entire, not scarious; petals 0; stamens 2–5, staminodes 4–5, ± 0.5 mm, ± thread-like, on hypanthium rim; styles 2, or 2-branched, 0.1–0.4 mm, united in lower 1/3. Fruit: utricle, obovoid. Seed: 1, dark red-brown.
45 species: South America, Europe, southern Asia, Africa. (Latin: rupture, 1 sp. being a supposed cure) [Thieret et al. 2005 FNANM 5:43–45]
Unabridged references: [Akeroyd 1993 Fl. Europaea ed. 2, 1:182–184]

H. hirsuta L.
Hairs dense, short, ± straight (except sometimes at tip), spreading. Stem: generally 4–20 cm. Leaf: stipules 0.5–1.3 mm; blade 3–12 mm. Inflorescence: flowers 3–8. Flower: sepals in fruit ± equal or not; stamens 2–5; styles 2 or 2-branched. Fruit: minutely papillate. Seed: ± compressed, smooth; margin with prominent rim. [Online Interchange]

Key to Herniaria hirsuta

H. hirsuta var. hirsuta
Stem: generally 4–15 cm. Inflorescence: flowers 3–6. Flower: 0.9–1.1 mm; style 2-branched, < 0.1 mm. Seed: 0.6–0.7 mm.
2n=18,36. Sandy flats, roadsides, woodland; 200–1750 m. Klamath Ranges, Inner North Coast Ranges, n&c Sierra Nevada Foothills, n High Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley, San Gabriel Mountains, Peninsular Ranges; Massachusetts, Maryland; native to southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern Asia. [Herniaria hirsuta subsp. hirsuta] Spring–fall [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Herniaria, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Herniaria hirsuta var. hirsuta 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.