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Stellaria littoralis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CaryophyllaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: PINK FAMILY
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 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). Note: Apetalous Caryophyllaceae can also be keyed in Rabeler & Hartman 2005 FNANM 5:5--8.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: StellariaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, erect to prostrate; taprooted, rhizomed. Stem: 4-angled or round. Leaf: petioled or not; linear to ovate, vein 1. Inflorescence: terminal or axillary, umbel-like or not, open to dense; flowers 1--many (if 1, axillary); peduncles, pedicels 0.8--50+ mm. Flower: sepals (4)5, free, 1.5--5.5 mm, lanceolate to ovate, glabrous to glandular-hairy; petals 0 or (1)5, 0.8--7 mm, 2-lobed > 1/2 to base; stamens 10 or fewer; styles 3(4--5 in Stellaria calycantha), 0.2--2.8 mm. Fruit: capsule, +- ovoid or spheric to cylindric-oblong; valves 6(8,10), ascending to recurved. Seed: several to many, brown to +- yellow, +- red, or purple-brown.
Species In Genus: +- 190 species: worldwide. Etymology: (Latin: star, from flower shape) Note: Presence of papillae on leaf margins determined at 20×.

Stellaria littoralis Torr.
Habit: Perennial herb, sprawling, 10--60 cm, covered (except +- leaves) with long wavy hairs; rhizome white. Stem: +- uniformly hairy. Leaf: +- evenly spaced; blade 10--45 mm, +- ovate; margin flat to wavy, +- shiny, densely ciliate. Inflorescence: terminal; flowers few to many; bracts leaf-like; pedicels ascending to erect, in fruit spreading to reflexed. Flower: sepals 5, 2.8--5 mm, lanceolate, sharply acute, hairy, margin widely scarious, ciliate near base, ribs in fruit 1 or 3; petals 5, 1--1.2 × sepals. Seed: +- 1 mm, red-brown, minutely roughened.
Ecology: Coastal +- marshes, bluffs; Elevation: < 40 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, CCo. Flowering Time: Spring Note: Stellaria littoralis closely resembles Stellaria dichotoma L. of eastern Asia; further study needed to determine if the 2 are conspecific and our plants thus introduced to California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler
Jepson Online Interchange
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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botanical illustration including Stellaria littoralis


Citation for this treatment: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler 2016. Stellaria littoralis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 24, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 24, 2016.

Stellaria littoralis
click for enlargement
© 2010 Aaron Schusteff

More photos of Stellaria littoralis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Stellaria littoralis:
NCo, CCo.
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.