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Published In: Genera Plantarum 299. 1789. (4 Aug 1789) (Gen. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)

By S.A. Ghazanfar. Genera Minuartia and Silene revised by Y. J. Nasir

Contributor Institution: National Herbarium, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad.
General/Distribution: A large family of 70 genera and about 1750 species, cosmopolitan. Represented in Pakistan by 26 genera and 110 species, distributed more or less through-out the country. Except for a few species, the family is of no economic value: Some species are cultivated in gardens.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the following Directors/Curators of Herbaria for the loan of herbarium specimens: BM, E, G, K, KUH, M, PPFI-B, W. Than are also due to Mr. I.C. Hedge of Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh for going through the manuscript and giving valuable suggestions. Dr. J.A. Ratter. Royal Botanic Garden; Edinburgh for information concerning the genera Spergula and Spergularia And Dr. C.E. Jarvis (BM, NH), London, for typication of Linnaean taxa.

The financial assistance provided by the U.S. & Department of Agriculture under PL-480 with coordination by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad is gratefully acknowledged,


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Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, often woody. Leaves simple, entire, usually opposite, less commonly alternate or whorled; stipulate or exstipulate. Flowers actinomorphic, usually hermaphrodite or sometimes unisexual or the plant gynodioecious. Inflorescence simple or compound cymes or flowers solitary. Sepals 4-5 or absent, free or united, entire or lobed (bilobed or fimbriate), often with a limb and a claw. Coronal scales (ligules) present or absent. Stamens (0-)3-10, free, rarely adnate to the sepals. Ovary superior, 1-2-5-Jocular. Placentation free-central. Ovary, stamens and petals sometimes borne on a carpophore. Styles 2-5. Fruit a capsule dehiscing by as many or twice the number of valves or teeth as there are styles or berrylike and indehisceut. Seeds 1-many, globose to pyriform or reniform, with smooth or variously sculptured face, the back sometimes caniculate or winged.

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1 Sepals free, slightly united in Pseudostellaria (2)
+ Sepals united, at least at the base (17)
2 (1) Leaves alternate 16 Telephium
+ Leaves opposite or spuriously whorled (3)
3 (2) Leaves stipulate (5)
+ Leaves exstipulate (4)
4 (3) Leaves densely imbricate. Plants forming dense, compact cushions (found above 4400m) 1 Thylacospermum
+ Leaves not imbricate. Plants not as above (8)
5 (3) Stipules connate at the nodes 13 Spergularia
+ Stipules free (6)
6 (5) Sepals keeled 15 Polycarpon
+ Sepals not keeled (7)
7 (6) Axillary leaf fascicles present. Stamens 5-10. Seeds keeled or winged 12 Spergula
+ Axillary leaf fascicles absent. Stamens 5. Seeds neither keeled nor winged 14 Polycarpaea
8 (4) Sepals 4, unequal. Leaves closely adpressed to the stem 11 Bufonia
+ Sepals 5(-4), equal. Leaves not as above (9)
9 (8) Flowers in umbels 7 Holosteum
+ Flowers solitary or in cymes (10)
10 (9) Capsule cylindric, dehiscing by small teeth, often reflexed or revolute 8 Cerastium
+ Capsule globose to ovoid, dehiscing by valves or teeth which are neither reflexed nevolute (11)
11 (10) Styles 4-5 (12)
+ Styles 2-3 (13)
12 (11) Leaves lanceolate to spathulate. Styles 5. Capsule dehiscing by 5 bidentate teeth 9 Myosoton
+ Leaves linear. Styles 4-5. Capsule splitting by 4-5 valves 10 Sagina
13 (11) Capsule membranous, splitting almost to the base by 2(-4) valves 4 Lepyrodiclis
+ Capsule not membranous, dehiscing by more than 2 valves or teeth (14)
14 (13) Capsule dehiscing by as many valves as styles (3) 3 Minuartia
+ Capsule dehiscing by twice as many teeth or valves as styles (15)
15 (14) Capsule teeth short, 6 in number 2 Arenaria
+ Capsule teeth usually ½ the capsule length, 4-6 in number (16)
16 (15) Tubers absent. Only chasmogamic flowers present. Sepals free 5 Stellaria
+ Napiform tubers present on the rhizome. Cleistogamic and chasmogamic flowers present. Sepals slightly united at the base 6 Pseudostellaria
17 (1) Fruit a berry, indehiscent 19 Cucubalus
+ Fruit a capsule dehiscent (18)
18 (17) Styles 2. Carpophore usually absent (19)
+ Styles 3-5. Carpophore usually present (25)
19 (18) Bracteoles present, adpressed to calyx 25 Dianthus
+ Bracteoles absent (20)
20 (19) Calyx with 5 broad wings 23 Vaccaria
+ Calyx without wings (21)
21 (20) Leaves acerose, often with a spiny apex. Bract spiny. Calyx often spiny tipped 22 Acanthophyllum
+ Leaves, bract and calyx not as above (22)
22 (21) Calyx ribs with hyaline intervals between them. Capsule dehiscing by valves (23)
+ Calyx ribs without hyaline intervals between then. Capsule dehiscing by teeth (24)
23 (22) Seeds peltate without facial hilum. Calyx without druses 24 Petrorhagia
+ Seeds reniform to comma shaped with lateral hilum. Calyx mostly with druses 20 Gypsophila
24 (22) Calyx long, narrowly cylindrical. Stems rigid, with dichotomous branches 26 Velezia
+ Calyx campanulate or cylindrical, never long and narrow. Stems not branching as above (25)
25 (18) Styles 2. Capsule dehiscing by 4 valves or teeth 21 Saponaria
+ Styles 3-5. Capsule dehiscing by teeth, 5 or twice the number of styles (26)
26 (25) Styles 3(-5). Capsule dehiscing by 6(-10) teeth. Carpophore prominent 18 Silene
+ Styles 5. Capsule dehiscing by 10 teeth. Carpophore very reduced 17 Lychnis
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