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 ).



Annual, perennial herb, tufted to matted, taprooted
Leaf: blade linear to awl-shaped; vein 0–1
Inflorescence: flower solitary, terminal or axillary; pedicels 2–30 mm
Flower: sepals 4–5, free, 1.3–3.5 mm, lanceolate to ovate, glabrous to glandular-hairy; petals 0 or 4–5, 1–3 mm, entire or sometimes notched; stamens 4, 5, 8, or 10; styles 4–5, 0.1–0.6 mm
Fruit: capsule, ovoid; valves 4–5, spreading to recurved
Seeds few–many, brown or reddish brown
Species in genus: 25 species: n temp, tropical mtns
Etymology: (Latin: fattening, once applied to Spergula , used as early forage)
Reference: [Crow 1978 Rhodora 80:1–91]


S. apetala Ard.


Annual (1.5)3–8 cm, ± glandular-hairy above; sterile basal rosettes 0
Stem thread-like, erect to decumbent
Leaves not fleshy; upper minutely ciliate near base; blade 3–9(12) mm, narrowly linear
Inflorescence: pedicels 2–8(12) mm, thread-like, generally straight, glandular-hairy
Flower: sepals 4(5), ± appressed in fruit, 1.5–2 mm, ± glandular-hairy; petals 0, rarely 4, minute; stamens 4
Fruit 1–1.2 X sepals
Seed 0.2–0.3 mm, obliquely triangular, ± compressed, roughened or papillate, brown; back grooved
Chromosomes: 2n=12
Ecology: Sandy waste areas, river bars, streamsides
Elevation: < 700 m.
Bioregional distribution: Northwestern California, Cascade Range, n&c Sierra Nevada, Great Central Valley, Central Coast, South Coast, n Channel Islands
Distribution outside California: to Washington; scattered in e N.America
Synonyms: var. barbata Fenzl

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