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Stellaria media

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 media (L.) Vill.
Habit: Annual but often over-wintering, prostrate to erect, 7--50 cm; taproot slender. Stem: internode hairs in line. Leaf: +- evenly spaced; blade 8--45 mm, +- ovate; margin +- not papillate, +- flat, shiny, often ciliate near base. Inflorescence: terminal or axillary, few-flowered, +- dense; bracts leaf-like; pedicels spreading to erect, in fruit curved to reflexed. Flower: sepals 5, 3--4.5 mm, > 6 mm in fruit, lanceolate to ovate, acute to obtuse, glabrous or +- glandular-hairy, margin +- widely scarious, ribs often 1 or 3 near base; petals 5, 0.7--0.9 × sepals. Seed: 0.9--1.3 mm, dark red-brown to brown, tubercles rounded. Chromosomes: 2n=40,42,44.
Ecology: Oak woodland, meadows, disturbed areas; Elevation: < 1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaRH, n&c SNF, n SNH, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SCo, ChI, DSon; Distribution Outside California: North America; native to southwestern Europe. Flowering Time: Feb--Sep Note: Often a pernicious urban weed; sometimes difficult to distinguish from Stellaria neglecta, Stellaria pallida.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler
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Citation for this treatment: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler 2017. Stellaria media, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 26, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 26, 2017.

Stellaria media
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Stellaria media
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Stellaria media
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© 2007 Neal Kramer
Stellaria media
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© 2016 Barry Breckling
Stellaria media
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Stellaria media
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© 2008 Steve Matson

More photos of Stellaria media in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Stellaria media:
NW, CaRH, n&c SNF, n SNH, GV, CCo, SnFrB, SCo, ChI, DSon;
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.