Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, annual or perennial, usually slender, often diffuse, tufted or ascending, rarely scrambling, glabrous or pubescent. Leaves simple, opposite, exstipulate, usually entire. Flowers usually in dichasial cymes, rarely solitary. Sepals 5 or 4, free, often scarious-margined. Petals 5 or 4, 2-fid up to middle or base, rarely emarginate or laciniate, white, sometimes absent. Stamens 10 or 8, rarely few, hypogynous or perigynous; nectaries present. Ovary 1-locular, rarely 3-locular; styles 3, rarely 2 - 5. Capsules globose or ovoid, opening usually by twice as many teeth as styles; -seeds 1-many, tuberculate, granulate or nearly smooth.

Temperate regions; ca 120 species, 17 species in India.

Notes. Occurs in various habitats, from plains to alpine regions, often in shady situations or on rocky slopes, sometimes in open places, also represented in arid regions.



KEY TO THE SPECIES


1a. Ovary 3-locular; capsules 1- or 2-seeded 6. Stellaria monosperma
b. Ovary 1-locular; capsules 2- to many-seeded 2
2a. Sepals free up to base 3
b. Sepals connate at base forming a funnel-shaped calyx tube 9
3a. Styles 3 (2 - 3 in S. wallichiana) 4
b. Styles 2 8
4a. Petals shorter than sepals or absent 5
b. Petals longer than sepals 7
5a. Flowers solitary, 4-merous 16. Stellaria wallichiana
b. Flowers many in cymes, 5-merous 6
6a. Plants glabrous; seeds with sharp tubercles 5. Stellaria media
b. Plants with long ciliate spreading hairs; seeds smooth 11. Stellaria sikkimensis
7a. Branches pubescent with white woolly hairs 10. Stellaria semivestita
b. Branches densely glandular-hairy 13. Stellaria tibetica
8a. Plants glaucous; capsules as long as sepals; seeds papillate marginally 17. Stellaria webbiana
b. Plants tomentose above; capsules shorter than sepals; seeds smooth 3. Stellaria himalayensis
9a. Densely tufted rigid herbs; filaments dilated at base 1. Stellaria decumbens
b. Laxly tufted flaccid herbs; filaments not dilated at base 10
10a. Plants variously pubescent 11
b. Plants glabrous or only leaf base ciliolate 13
11a. Stellate hairs present 15. Stellaria vestita
b. Stellate hairs absent 12
12a. Plants with long lax silky hairs 8. Stellaria patens
b. Plants densely woolly 4. Stellaria lanata
13a. Petals absent; capsules much longer than sepals 12. Stellaria subumbellata
b. Petals present (rarely absent in S. uliginosa); capsules as long as or shorter than sepals 14
14a. Leaves thick-margined 15
b. Leaves not thick-margined 16
15a. Leaves ciliolate towards base; bracts wholly scarious 2. Stellaria graminea
b. Leaves not ciliolate towards base; bracts, if present. scarious along margins only 7. Stellaria palustris
16a. Leaves lanceolate; lower leaves not attenuate at base 14. Stellaria uliginosa
b. Leaves broadly ovate; lower leaves often abruptly attenuate at base 9. Stellaria reticulivena


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