Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, annual, biennial or perennial, often suffrutescent, erect, decumbent or climbing. Leaves opposite, exstipulate, entire. Flowers in cymes, short or long-pedunculate, sometimes looking like large racemes with short axillary cymules, sometimes reduced to a single flower. Calyx variable, often inflated and with 5 teeth united below into a calyx tube, not scarious, 10 - 60 - nerved. Petals 5, limb and claw usually distinct, junction often marked by 2 lateral auricles; limb 2-fid or 4-partite, emarginate or entire; coronal scales usually present, variable in form. Anthophore usually conspicuous. Stamens 10, 5 usually adnate to petals. Ovary 1-locular above, 3- or 5-locular at base; styles 3 - 5. Fruit a capsule, opening by twice as many teeth as styles, usually on a carpophore; seeds variable.

Temperate Europe, Asia, Africa and North America; ca 450 species, 28 species in India.

Literature. CHOWDHURI, P. K. (1957) Studies in the genus Silene. Notes R Bot. Gard. Ednib. 22: 221- 278. BOCQUET, G. (1969) Revisio Physolychnidium (Silene sect. Physolychnis). Phan. Monogr· 1: 1 - 342. tt. 43.


1a. Inflorescences racemosely paniculate with long, sometimes sbort lateral cymules (rarely reduced to opposite pairs or one flower) 2
b. Inflorescences dischasial or monochasial cymes, not paniculate 21
2a. Petals eligulate, entire 9. Silene falconeriana
b. Petals ligulate, entire or divided 3
3a. Main inflorescence axis short (lateral cymules 3 - 7, rarely 1-flowered); pedicels with 2 bracteoles 4
b. Main inflorescence axis long; pedicels without bracteoles 5
4a. Calyx 1.8 - 2.5 cm long; auricle of the petal claw toothed 18. Silene moorcroftiana
b. Calyx 0.8 - 1 cm long; auricle of the petal claw not toothed 24. Silene stewartii
5a. Panicles spreading, not racemiform; cymules long, 3 - 7 (reduced to 2 or rarely 1-flowered) 6
b. Panicles not spreading, racemiform; cymules short, 1 - 3-flowered, the lower 3 - 5 or 7-flowered 7
6a. Flowers small; petal claw ciliate; filaments pilose at base 15. Silene kunawurensis
b. Flowers large; petal claw smooth; filaments glabrous 26. Silene viridiflora
7a. Calyx cylindrical, not inflated, subcoriaceous, adpressed in fruit 27. Silene viscosa
b. Calyx campanulate, inflated, membranous, not adpressed in fruit 8
8a. Styles 3 1. Silene amoena
b. Styles (4-) 5 9
9a. Calyx teeth more than 1/2 the total calyx length 3. Silene cancellata
b. Calyx teeth less than 1/2 the total calyx length 10
10a. Calyx much inflated, more than 1.2 cm across 11
b. Calyx not much inflated, less than 1.2 cm across 14
11a. Anthophore less than 2 mm long 12
b. Anthophore more than 2 mm long 13
12a. Seeds covered with setae or papillae, not winged 22. Silene setisperma
b. Seeds not covered with setae or papillae, broadly winged 20. Silene nigrescens
13a. Anthophore more than 6 mm long; petals 4-partite, more than 8 mm longer than calyx; seeds winged 16. Silene laxantha
b. Anthophore less than 6 mm long; petals 2-fid, less than 7 mm longer than calyx; seeds not winged 21. Silene rechingeri
14a. Seeds dorsally winged 15
b. Seeds dorsally echinate or tuberculate, sometimes nearly smooth, not winged 16
15a. Calyx campanulate; seeds 1.5 - 2 x 2 - 25 mm, laterally compressed, broadly winged 8. Silene falconeri
b. Calyx not campanulate; seeds 1.1 - 1.5 x 1.2 - 1.8 mm, not laterally compressed, narrowly winged 11. Silene gonosperma
16a. Anthophore less than 1.5 mm long; seeds less than 0.9 x 1 mm 17
b. Anthophore more than 2 mm long; seeds more than 1 x 1.2 mm 19
17a. Plants eglandular-hairy 19. Silene nepalensis
b. Plants glandular-hairy 18
18a. Plants less than 15 cm high 17. Silene madens
b. Plants more than 30 cm high 23. Silene songarica
19a. Petal, 4-partite, more than 8 mm longer than calyx 7. Silene edgeworthii
b. Petals 2-fid, less than 8 mm longer than calyx 20
20a. Anthophore 2 - 3 mm long; petals 3 - 4 mm longer than calyx 12. Silene indica
b. Anthophore more than 3 mm long; petals 6 - 8 mm longer than calyx 4. Silene cashmeriana
21a. Cymes dichasial, sometimes becoming monochasial above 22
b. Cymes monochasial with simple axis or 1 - 3 -forked below (sometimes appearing as unilateral racemes) 26
22a. Calyx inflated at anthesis; nerves anastomosing 23
b. Calyx not inflated at anthesis; nerves not anastomosing 24
23a. Calyx 15 - 20-nerved 28. Silene vulgaris
b. Calyx 10-nerved 14. Silene kumaonensis
24a. Calyx conical, 20- or more-nerved 6. Silene conoidea
b. Calyx not conical, 10-nerved 25
25a. Leaves ciliolate 13. Silene khasiana
b. Leaves not ciliolate 25. Silene vagans
26a. Plants perennial, with a woody stock 27
b. Plants annual, without a woody stock 10. Silene gallica
27a. Petals white with an included claw; capsules subsessile 2. Silene caespitella
b. Petals rose with an exserted claw; capsules on a carpophore 5. Silene colorata

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