Leaves cauline or in a basal tuft, sessile or petiolate, margins occasionally ciliate; stipules absent.
Flowers in terminal cymes or solitary in the upper leaf axils. Bracts herbaceous to scarious. Sepals free, acute to obtuse, usually 3-veined; margins scarious. Petals absent or present, bifid, white. Stamens 1–10. Ovary 1-locular; styles 3.
Capsule opening by 6 teeth; seeds usually numerous, sculptured.
Some of the native taxa have not yet been adequately delimited.
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Internodes with a line of hairs running between nodes, otherwise glabrous||2|
|Internodes entirely glabrous or with scattered long hairs, without a line of hairs running between the nodes||3|
|2||Leaves 5–35(-40) mm long, 3–13 mm wide, sessile above, petiolate below; petals present or occasionally absent; sepals 4–7 mm long;; stamens 3–5; seeds dark brown||Stellaria media|
|Leaves (6-)10–20 mm long, 2–4(-8.5) mm wide, usually all petiolate; petals absent; sepals 2.5–3.5(-4.5) mm long; stamens1–3; seeds yellow to mid brown|
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|4||Leaves narrow-ovate to lanceolate, with or without a petiole, or narrow-spathulate; sepals triangular to subulate, flat; capsule valves thin-walled, recurved, smooth||Stellaria multiflora|
|Leaves linear, all sessile; sepals obovate, apex acuminate, concave; capsule valves thick-walled, not recurved, tuberculate|
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|5||Flowers 10 or more in terminal cymes||6|
|Flowers solitary in the leaf axils, rarely in 3-flowered terminal cymes|
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|6||Leaves linear-lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, cauline; bracts ciliate||Stellaria graminea|
|Leaves filiform, crowded in a basal tuft, sometimes with a few small upper leaves; bracts with smooth margins|
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|7||Bracts scarious or rarely herbaceous with wide scarious margins; flowers on filiform pedicels c. 12 mm long; calyx base tapering to pedicel||Stellaria filiformis|
|Bracts all herbaceous; flowers on pedicels 1–3 mm long; junction of calyx base and pedicel abrupt|
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|8||Leaves ovate to lanceolate, petiolate; capsule distinctly longer than calyx||Stellaria flaccida|
|Leaves linear to narrow-lanceolate, sessile; capsule usually shorter than, rarely scarcely exceeding, calyx|
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|9||Leaves pungent, rigid, folded, usually recurved; sepals rigid, pungent, usually with long multicellular hairs||Stellaria pungens|
|Leaves obtuse to acute, not rigid, flat, occasionally recurved; sepals obtuse to acute, glabrous to scabrous|
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|10||Small mat-forming plants; leaves (2-)3–5.5(-7) mm long; fruiting pedicels 3–10 mm long; sepals (1.3-)1.7–3.2 mm long ||Stellaria angustifolia|
|Larger erect to scrambling plants, often tufted; leaves (4.8-)10–50(-55) mmlong; fruiting pedicels 10–60 mm long; sepals (1.5-)3–8(-10) mm long |
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