Stellaria spp.
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Stellaria image
Max Licher  
Plants annual, winter annual, or perennial. Taproots usually slender, perennial taxa often rhizomatous, rooting at nodes. Stems prostrate to ascending or erect, simple or branched, terete or 4-angled. Leaves sometimes connate basally into sheath, often sessile; blade 1-veined, linear or lanceolate to ovate or deltate, succulent (S. crassifolia [gemmae], S. fontinalis, S. humifusa, and S. irrigua) or not, apex acute or obtuse. Inflorescences terminal, open cymes, rarely axillary (S. alsine, S. americana) or umbellate (S. umbellata), or terminal or axillary solitary flowers; bracts paired (1 in S. dicranoides), foliaceous, scarious and reduced, or absent. Pedicels erect, sometimes reflexed in fruit, glabrous or pubescent, not glandular. Flowers usually bisexual (S. dicranoides unisexual); perianth and androecium hypogynous or weakly perigynous; hypanthium cup- or disc-shaped; sepals (4-)5, distinct, green, occasionally purple tinged (S. irrigua) or red proximally (S. pallida), lanceolate to ovate-triangular, 2-12 mm, herbaceous (rarely coriaceous), margins often white, scarious, apex acute, acuminate, or obtuse, not hooded; petals (1-)5 or absent, white (sometimes translucent in S. borealis), not clawed, blade apex 2-fid usually for 3- 5 its length (S. holostea occasionally laciniate); nectaries at base of filaments opposite sepals usually present, disc sometimes prominent; stamens (1-)5 or 10 or absent, arising from nectariferous disc (prominent in S. dicranoides and S. irrigua) at ovary base; filaments distinct; staminodes absent; styles [2-]3(-5), capitate to clavate, 0.2-7 mm, glabrous proximally; stigmas [2-]3(-5), terminal or subterminal, papillate (30×). Capsules globose to conic, opening by 3 or 6, occasionally 4, 8, or 10 ascending to recurved valves; carpophore present or absent. Seeds (1-)3-20+, yellow-brown to dark brown, globose to ellipsoid, laterally compressed, rarely shiny, papillate or rugose, rarely smooth, marginal wing absent, appendage absent. x = 10, 11, 12, 13, 15.
Fls solitary in the forks of the stem, or in terminal cymes; sep 5; pet 5, bifid, often deeply so, or lacking; stamens mostly 10, sometimes fewer; styles mostly 3(4) but 5 in S. aquatica; ovules numerous; capsule ordinarily dehiscent by twice as many valves as there are styles, but in S. aquatica with 5 apically notched or shortly bifid valves; low annual or perennial herbs with mostly rather small, opposite, exstipulate lvs; נmost commonly=13. (Alsine, Myosoton) 100+, widespread, esp. N. Temp.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

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Species within Naturalized flora of The Morton Arboretum