Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, annual or perennial, erect, prostrate or often cushion-forming. Leaves opposite, rarely somewhat whorled, exstipulate, oblong, oblong-elliptic, oblong-lanceolate, ovate, orbicular, elliptic, elliptic-lanceolate, linear, linear-lanceolate or linear-subulate. Flowers solitary, terminal or in dichasial terminal or axillary cymes, usually 5-merous. Sepals 4 or 5, free, herbaceous throughout or scarious-margined. Petals entire or lacerate, white or pink, rarely absent. Stamens 2 - 10, on a hypogynous disc, those opposite to sepals glandular-thickened at base. Ovary 1-locular; styles 2 or 3 (-4), filiform. Capsules 2- 6-valved, short, rarely exceeding sepals; seeds few or many.

Temperate and arctic regions; ca 250 species, 24 species in India.

Notes. Growing at various altitudes, at high altitudes sometimes forming very dense, globose tufts of the size of a human head. In alpine regions smaller stunted forms are found.

Literature. WILLIAMS, F. N. (1898). A revision of the genus Arenaria. J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 33: 326 - 437.


1a. Styles 2; capsules 4-valved (styles 2 - 3; capsules 4 - 6-valved in A. melandryiformis) 2
b. Styles 3; capsules 6-valved 6
2a. Flowers solitary 3
b. Flowers in cymes (solitary in A. littledalel) 4
3a. Pedicels less than 1 cm long; petals 10 - 14 mm long 16. Arenaria melandryoides
b. Pedicels more than 1.5 cm long; petals 7 - 10 mm long 15. Arenaria melandryiformis
4a. Petals longer than sepals 5. Arenaria debilis
b. Petals shorter than sepals or absent 5
5a. Sepals 4; petals present; stamens 2 - 3 14. Arenaria littledalei
b. Sepals 5; petals absent; stamens 5 24. Arenaria thangoensis
6a. Leaves hardened and coriaceous or membranous along margins and apex 7
b. Leaves herbaceous or with scarious margins, otherwise pungent and setaceous 12
7a. Leaves not densely imbricate, oblong-lanceolate, elliptic or ovate-elliptic, acute or acuminate; sepals acute, usually hardened along margins and apex 8
b. Leaves densely imbricate, linear to linear-subulate or lanceolate; sepals obtuse or subacute, membranous along margins and apex 10
8a. Plants perfectly glabrous 23. Arenaria stracheyi
b. Plants hairy 9
9a. Hairs sparse, long, stiff, ciliate 2. Arenaria ciliolata
b. Hairs dense, glandular 11. Arenaria glanduligera
10a. Sepals oblong-orbicular 19. Arenaria oreophila
b. Sepals ovate-elliptic 11
11a. Petals linear 6. Arenaria densissima
b. Petals obovate 20. Arenaria polytrichoides
12a. Leaves mostly linear to subulate, markedly scarious- margined; sepals mostly variously lanceolate 13
b. Leaves mostly not linear to subulate, not markedly scarious-margined; sepals mostly variously ovate 19
13a. Flowers in cymes 14
b. Flowers solitary 16
14a. Petals longer than sepals 10. Arenaria festucoides
b. Petals shorter than sepals 15
15a. Leaves 25 - 55 mm long; sepals 8 - 10 mm long 4. Arenaria curvifolia
b. Leaves 5 - 9 mm long; sepals 5 - 6 mm long 9. Arenaria ferruginea
16a. Sepals 1-nerved; anthers black 13. Arenaria kansuensis
b. Sepals 3-nerved; anthers not black 17
17a. Bracts foliaceous 8. Arenaria edgeworthiana
b. Bracts absent 18
18a. Leaves 1-nerved, minutely ciliate 1. Arenaria bryophylla
b. leaves nerveless, strongly ciliate 21. Arenaria pulvinata
19a. Leaves subulate, setaceous and pungent; sepals markedly hard at base, becoming ligneous in fruit 12. Arenaria griffithii
b. Leaves not subulate, herbaceous, sometimes coriaceous; sepals neither hard at base nor becoming lig-neous in fruit 20
20a. Perennials with sterile leafy shoots along with flowering shoots 21
b. Annuals without sterile leafy shoots 22
21a. Leaves linear to lanceolate, acute or obtuse at apex; seeds winged 3. Arenaria compressa
b. Leaves ovate to orbicular, rounded at apex; seeds not winged 23
22a. Herbs suberect; flowers many in cymes 22. Arenaria serpyllifolia
b. Herbs diffuse; flowers few or solitary 7. Arenaria depauperata
23a. Sepal with a dorsal pubescent nerve; petals longer than sepals; seeds transversely striate 17. Arenaria neelgherrensis
b. Sepal without a dorsal pubescent nerve; petals shorter than sepals; seeds smooth 18. Arenaria orbiculata

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