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Genus Stellaria Family Caryophyllaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs with branching stems, glabrous to hairy.

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.

Photo J. R. Hosking

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 120 species, almost cosmopolitan. Australia: 10 species (7 species endemic, 3 species naturalized), all States except N.T.

Some of the native taxa have not yet been adequately delimited.

Text by A. Doust (1990); edited KL Wilson (May 2010; Nov 2012)
Taxon concept: Fl NSW vol 1 (1990); updated from CH Miller and JG West (2012)

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Stellaria leptoclada

 Key to the species 
1Internodes with a line of hairs running between nodes, otherwise glabrous2
Internodes entirely glabrous or with scattered long hairs, without a line of hairs running between the nodes3
2Leaves 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 brownStellaria 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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Stellaria pallida
3Petals absent4
Petals present
                       Back to 1
4Leaves narrow-ovate to lanceolate, with or without a petiole, or narrow-spathulate; sepals triangular to subulate, flat; capsule valves thin-walled, recurved, smoothStellaria multiflora
Leaves linear, all sessile; sepals obovate, apex acuminate, concave; capsule valves thick-walled, not recurved, tuberculate
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Stellaria papillata
5Flowers 10 or more in terminal cymes6
Flowers solitary in the leaf axils, rarely in 3-flowered terminal cymes
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6Leaves linear-lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, cauline; bracts ciliateStellaria graminea
Leaves filiform, crowded in a basal tuft, sometimes with a few small upper leaves; bracts with smooth margins
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7Bracts scarious or rarely herbaceous with wide scarious margins; flowers on filiform pedicels c. 12 mm long; calyx base tapering to pedicelStellaria filiformis
Bracts all herbaceous; flowers on pedicels 1–3 mm long; junction of calyx base and pedicel abrupt
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Stellaria multiflora
8Leaves ovate to lanceolate, petiolate; capsule distinctly longer than calyxStellaria flaccida
Leaves linear to narrow-lanceolate, sessile; capsule usually shorter than, rarely scarcely exceeding, calyx
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9Leaves pungent, rigid, folded, usually recurved; sepals rigid, pungent, usually with long multicellular hairsStellaria pungens
Leaves obtuse to acute, not rigid, flat, occasionally recurved; sepals obtuse to acute, glabrous to scabrous
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10Small 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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Stellaria angustifolia

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