Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Ronald L. Hartman (except Silene)

Annual, biennial, perennial herb, rarely dioecious, taprooted or rhizome generally slender
Leaves simple, generally opposite; stipules generally 0; petiole generally 0; blade entire, sheath generally 0
Inflorescence: cyme, generally open; flowers few–many or flower solitary and axillary; involucre generally 0
Flower generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium sometimes present; sepals generally 5, ± free or fused into a tube, tube generally herbaceous between lobes or teeth; awns generally 0; petals generally 5 or 0, generally tapered to base (or with claw long, blade expanded), entire to 2–several-lobed, blade generally without scale-like appendages (inner surface), generally without ear-like lobes at base; stamens generally 10, generally fertile, generally free, generally from ovary base; nectaries generally 0; ovary superior, generally 1-chambered, placentas basal or free-central, styles 2–5 or 1 and 2–3-branched
Fruit: capsule or utricle (rarely modified, dehiscent), generally sessile
Seeds: appendage generally 0
Genera in family: 85 genera, 2400 species: widespread, especially arctic, alpine, temp, n hemisphere; some cultivated (Agrostemma, Arenaria, Cerastium, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Saponaria, Silene, Vaccaria ).


Perennial, ± prostrate, taprooted
Leaves: stipules 4–8 mm, lanceolate to ovate, scarious, ± entire, white; blade needle-like; vein 1
Inflorescence: flowers axillary, 1–5, ± sessile
Flower: hypanthium cup-shaped, not abruptly expanded above; sepals 5, free, 1.2–2.8 mm (except awn), oblong to obovate, densely woolly, margin scarious below, tip awned, awn 1.5–4 mm, very stout, spine-tipped; petals 5, 0.3–0.5 mm, scale-like; stamens 3–5, arising from hypanthium rim; ovary superior, styles 2, 0.2 mm
Fruit: utricle, elliptic
Seed 1, tan
Species in genus: 6 species: w North America, Chile
Etymology: (Greek: heart thread, from stamen shape)


C. ramosissimum (Weinm.) A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.

Stem 5–30+ cm, often concealed by stipules
Leaf 5–13 mm, glabrous, finely spine-tipped
Flower: sepal margin incurved near tip
Seed 1.4–1.6 mm, narrowly ovate, not compressed
Ecology: Sandy beaches and hills, dunes, bluffs
Elevation: < 150 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Mexico, also in Chile

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