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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • 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 ).



Biennial, perennial herb, erect, taprooted or roots fibrous
Leaf: petiole present or 0; blade oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic; vein 1, prominent
Inflorescence: cyme, terminal; flowers few; pedicels 10–55+ mm
Flower: sepals 5, fused, densely silky-hairy to tomentose, tube prominent, 12–14 mm, 7–10 mm diam, elliptic to ovoid, rounded, strongly 10-ribbed (obscured by hairs), lobes 4–7 mm, < tube, linear to ± lanceolate; petals 5, 22–30 mm, claw long, blade widely notched, appendages 2; styles (4)5, 16–18 mm
Fruit: capsule, ovoid; stalk 0–0.5 mm; teeth (4)5, ascending
Seeds many, gray to blackish purple
Species in genus: 35 species: n temp, arctic
Etymology: (Greek: lamp, from flame-colored flower of some species)


L. coronaria (L.) Desr.


Plant densely silky-hairy to tomentose
Stem sparingly branched above
Leaves: basal many, 9–15 cm, oblanceolate; cauline fewer, 5–15 cm, generally narrowly elliptic
Inflorescence leafy; branches, pedicels spreading, often arching upward
Flower: calyx lobes twisted; petals obovate, reddish purple, appendages 2–3 mm, awl-like, thickened
Seed 1–1.3 mm, ± spheric; tubercles rounded, elongate
Chromosomes: 2n=24
Ecology: Disturbed areas, open slopes, redwood/Douglas-fir forests
Elevation: < 500 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast Ranges, San Francisco Bay Area, Western Transverse Ranges
Distribution outside California: native to se Europe

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