Herbs, annual, biennial, or perennial, often decumbent at base or sometimes cespitose. Taproots slender or often stout, deep, branched caudex often present, some species stoloniferous or rhizomatous. Stems simple or branched, terete or sometimes angular. Leaves opposite or occasionally whorled, connate proximally, petiolate (basal leaves) or sessile (most cauline leaves); blade 1-5-veined, linear to obovate or spatulate, herbaceous, apex acute to obtuse. Inflorescences terminal or sometimes axillary, simple or branched, sometimes condensed cymes, frequently flowers few or solitary, frequently glandular-pubescent and viscid; bracts paired, herbaceous or scarious, or absent; involucel bracteoles absent. Pedicels erect, rarely flowers sessile or subsessile. Flowers bisexual, sometimes unisexual (rarely so on separate plants); sepals connate proximally into tube, (4-)10-28(-40) mm; tube green, whitish, and/or purplish, 10-30-veined, cylindric to campanulate, urceolate, or clavate, terete, frequently inflated, membranous or more rarely herbaceous, commissures between sepals 1-veined, herbaceous; lobes green or purplish, 1-5-veined, broadly triangular to lance-oblong or linear, usually shorter than tube, margins whitish, scarious, apex acute to obtuse; petals 5, white, pink, scarlet, dusky purple, or off-white tinged with purple, clawed, claw usually conspicuous, sometimes small, rarely absent, auricles 2, coronal appendages 2, variously shaped or dissected; limb usually exserted and conspicuous, oblanceolate to obovate, apex 2-lobed, sometimes dissected into 1-4 linear lobes or irregular teeth, or fimbriate, rarely entire; nectaries at filament bases; stamens 10, rarely fewer or absent, frequently dimorphic with longer opposite petals, arising with petals from carpophore; filaments distinct nearly to base; staminodes absent (rarely to 10 in pistillate flowers, arising with petals from carpophore, filiform); ovary 1- or 3-5-locular; styles 3 or 5, occasionally 4 (absent in staminate flowers), filiform, 1.5-20 mm, glabrous proximally; stigmas 3 or 5, occasionally 4, linear along adaxial surface of styles, papillate (30×). Capsules ovoid to globose, opening along sutures into 3-5 valves, frequently splitting into 6-10 equal teeth; carpophore usually present. Seeds ca. (5-)15-100(-500+), reddish to gray or black, reniform to globose, usually tuberculate or papillate, papillae around margins sometimes larger and inflated, marginal wing sometimes present, appendage absent; embryo peripheral, curved. x = (10) 12.
Herbs annual, biennial, or perennial, rarely plants suffrutescent. Stems erect, ascending, or creeping. Leaves subulate, linear or lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, or elliptic. Flowers bisexual or unisexual; male-sterile flowers frequent in otherwise hermaphroditic plants. Male-sterile flowers often have markedly shorter androgynophores and petal limbs than hermaphroditic flowers. Inflorescence a monochasium, dichasium, thyrse or flower solitary. Calyx tubular, funnel-shaped, campanulate, or ovoid, usually 10-veined, with 5 teeth with ciliate membranous margin; the form of this margin usually varies between teeth in a single calyx. Petals 5, each with a sometimes auriculate claw; limb entire, bifid, 4-fid, or laciniate, variously colored; coronal scales present. Androgynophore ± conspicuous. Stamens 10. Ovary usually with 3 or 5 basal septa; ovules numerous; styles 3 or 5. The protrusion of stamens and styles from calyx mouth are correlated in perfect flowers. Fruit usually a capsule dehiscing with 6 or 10, rarely 5, teeth. Seeds reniform, minute, ± tuberculate, sometimes with abaxial spinose processes or a marginal wing.
"Fls perfect or sometimes unisexual; cal-tube (5–)10–30- veined, with 5 short teeth, variously hairy or glandular or glabrous, sometimes inflated; pet 5, the claw narrow, usually expanded above into evident auricles at the juncture with the blade, and usually with a pair of appendages on the inner surface at the juncture; stamens 10, styles 3, less often 4 or 5, rarely more; ovary usually stipitate, the stamens and pet often adnate to the stipe; capsule unilocular or more or less completely plurilocular, dehiscent by twice as many teeth as the number of styles, or less often by only as many teeth as styles; seeds reniform to globose, roughened; annual to perennial herbs with opposite (seldom whorled), entire, exstipulate lvs. 400, mostly N. Temp."
Leaves opposite, sometimes slightly connate at the base, exstipulate.
Flowers in cymose, paniculate, spicate or aggregate-capitulate inflorescences, or rarely single, unisexual or bisexual.
Calyx tubular or dilated, 5-toothed, with 10 principal veins.
Seeds numerous, reniform or subspherical, sometimes winged.
Capsule many-seeded, opening from the apex by 3 or 6 teeth or valves.
Ovary 3–5-locular below but usually 1-locular in the upper part or 1-locular throughout, multiovulate; styles (2) 3 (5), filiform.
Stamens 5 + 5 in male or bisexual flowers or abnormally reduced.
Petals 5, with a long narrow claw and a dilated, bifid or rarely simple or laciniate lamina, often with scales at the base of the limb.
Inflorescences cymose, panicled, spicate, aggregated-capitulate or reduced even to a solitary flower; no calycine bracts
Calyx tubular or dilated, 5 teeth, 10 main veins
Ovary 3- to 5-locular at least in the lower part though usually unilocular in the upper part; styles 2 to 5 but generally 3, filiform
Capsules dehiscing generally by 3 or 6 teeth or valves.
Petals 5, with a long narrow claw and an entire or usually a bilobed limb
Stamens 5 + 5 in male or hermaphrodite flowers or abnormally reduced in number
Bocquet, G. 1969. Revisio Physolychnidum (Silene Sect. Physolychnis).... Lehre. Burleigh, J. G. and T. P. Holtsford. 2003. Molecular systematics of the eastern North American Silene (Caryophyllaceae): Evidence from nuclear ITS and chloroplast trnL intron sequences. Rhodora 105: 76-90. Hitchcock, C. L. and B. Maguire. 1947. A Revision of the North American Species of Silene. Seattle. [Univ. Wash. Publ. Biol. 13.] Kruckeberg, A. R. 1962. Intergeneric hybrids in the Lychnideae (Caryophyllaceae). Brittonia 14: 311-321. McNeill, J. 1978. Silene alba and S. dioica in North America and the generic delimitation of Lychnis, Melandrium and Silene (Caryophyllaceae). Canad. J. Bot. 56: 297-308. Oxelman, B. and M. Lidén. 1995. Generic boundaries in the tribe Sileneae (Caryophyllaceae) as inferred from nuclear rDNA sequences. Taxon 44: 525-542. Oxelman, B., M. Lidén, and D. Berglund. 1997. Chloroplast rps16 intron phylogeny of the tribe Sileneae (Caryophyllaceae). Pl. Syst. Evol. 206: 411-420. Oxelman, B., M. Lidén, R. K. Rabeler, and M. Popp. 2000. A revised generic classification of the tribe Sileneae (Caryophyllaceae). Nordic J. Bot. 20: 743-748. Williams, F. N. 1896b. A revision of the genus Silene Linn. J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 32: 1-196.
|Campion, catchfly [Greek seilenos, probably derived from Silenus, the intoxicated foster father of the Greek god Bacchus, who was described as covered with foam; perhaps allud-ing to the viscid secretion covering many species]|