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Vascular Plants of California
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Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum

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. Seed: appendage generally 0 (present in Moehringia).
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: PolycarponView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: POLYCARP
Habit: Annual, matted or tufted, taprooted, glabrous. Leaf: opposite, appearing whorled or not; stipules 0.4--2.8 mm, lanceolate to triangular, scarious, entire to irregularly toothed or cut, white; petiole generally +- present; blade oblanceolate to obovate; vein 1. Inflorescence: axillary, open to dense; flowers few to many; pedicels 0.2--2 mm. Flower: sepals 5, +- free, 1--2.2 mm, lanceolate to ovate, glabrous, margin scarious, white, awn conic to widely triangular; petals 5, 0.5--1.1 mm, entire or notched; stamens 3--5, +- fused at base; style 1, 3-branched, 0.1--0.3 mm. Fruit: capsule, ovoid to spheric; valves 3, margin rolled inward. Seed: several, brown.
Species In Genus: 15 species: worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: many fruit, from capsule number)
Reference: Thieret & Rabeler 2005 FNANM 5:25--26
Polycarpon tetraphyllum (L.) L. var. tetraphyllum
Stem: prostrate to erect, often much-branched, especially above, 3--17 cm. Leaf: stipules lanceolate to widely triangular; petiole 0 or tapered to blade; blade 4--12 mm, obovate. Flower: sepals lanceolate to ovate, awn widely triangular; petals linear to elliptic. Seed: 0.4--0.5 mm, obliquely triangular, granular. Chromosomes: 2n=32,48,64.
Ecology: Disturbed shaded areas, roadsides; Elevation: < 450 m, 1180 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRO, n SNF, c SN, ScV, CCo, SCo, SnGb; Distribution Outside California: British Columbia, Texas, southeastern North America; native to southern Europe. Flowering Time: Spring--fall
Unabridged Note: 2 other varieties, native to southern Europe, introduced +- worldwide.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler
Reference: Thieret & Rabeler 2005 FNANM 5:25--26
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Ronald L. Hartman & Richard K. Rabeler 2012, Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=81542, accessed on October 25, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 25, 2020.

Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum
click for enlargement
© 2016 Neal Kramer
Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum
click for enlargement
© 2016 Neal Kramer
Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum
click for enlargement
© 2016 Neal Kramer
Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum
click for enlargement
© 2019 Neal Kramer
Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum
click for enlargement
© 2019 Neal Kramer
Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum
click for enlargement
© 2019 Neal Kramer

More photos of Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Polycarpon tetraphyllum var. tetraphyllum:
NCoRO, n SNF, c SN, ScV, CCo, SCo, SnGb
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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).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).