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, erect to sprawling; taprooted
Leaf: stipules 1–11 mm, lanceolate and acuminate to widely triangular, scarious, ± entire or splitting ± at tip, white to tan; blade thread-like to linear; vein 1
Inflorescence: generally cyme, terminal, few–many-flowered, open to dense; pedicels 0.5–28+ mm
Flower: sepals 5, ± free, 1.5–10 mm, lanceolate to ovate, glabrous to glandular-hairy; petals 5, 0.6–9 mm, entire; stamens 2–10; styles 3, 0.3–1.9 mm
Fruit: capsule, ovoid; valves 3, spreading with tip recurved
Seeds few–many, dark brown, reddish brown, or black
Species in genus: 40 species: worldwide
Etymology: (Latin: derivative of Spergula )
Reference: [Rossbach 1940 Rhodora 42:57–83,105–143,158–193,203–213]


S. media (L.) Griseb.

Annual or short-lived perennial herb, stout
Stem: lower main generally 1–3 mm diam
Leaf distinctly fleshy; axillary clusters generally 0; stipules 2.6–6 mm, deltate, dull white, inconspicuous, tip obtuse to ± acute
Inflorescence simple or 1–2+ X compound, glabrous or sparsely glandular-hairy
Flower: sepals fused 0.3–1 mm, lobes 2.5–4 mm, < 5 mm in fruit; petals white; stamens 9–10; styles 0.5–1 mm
Fruit (4.5)5.5–8 mm, 1.2–1.4 X calyx
Seed 0.8–1.1 mm, dark brown, generally winged; surface ± smooth, not papillate
Chromosomes: 2n=18,36
Ecology: Salt flats, salt marshes, sandy beaches
Elevation: < 2 m.
Bioregional distribution: n Central Coast (Marin, Contra Costa cos.)
Distribution outside California: Oregon, e N.America, S.America; native to coastal Europe
S. maritima (All.) Chiov. may prove to be the correct name for this sp.

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