Skip to main content

Silene L.

Sp.Pl. 1:416 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Family Caryophyllaceae.

Subfamily Caryophylloideae, Tribe Sileneae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (sometimes caespitose), or shrubs (rarely); non-laticiferous and without coloured juice. ‘Normal’ plants. Leaves well developed. Plants with roots; non-succulent; unarmed. Annual, or biennial, or perennial; to 0.13–0.3 m high. Self supporting. Mesophytic. Not heterophyllous. Leaves small, or medium-sized; opposite; with blades; sessile; simple; not peltate. Leaf blades entire; flat; ovate, or obovate, or elliptic. Mature leaf blades adaxially glabrous, or pubescent; abaxially glabrous, or pubescent. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire; flat. Leaf anatomy. Hairs present, or absent; glandular hairs present, or absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or functionally male, or functionally female. Unisexual flowers absent, or present. Plants hermaphrodite, or monoecious, or dioecious (rarely), or gynodioecious (rarely). Floral nectaries absent.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’, or solitary (rarely). Inflorescence many-flowered, or few-flowered. Flowers in cymes (sometimes capitate). Inflorescences compound. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences terminal. Flowers pedicellate; small; regular; tetracyclic, or tricyclic (rarely). Floral receptacle with neither androphore nor gynophore (but developing an anthophore). Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla, or sepaline (rarely); 10; 2 -whorled, or 1 -whorled (rarely); isomerous. Calyx present; 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; lobed. Calyx lobes markedly shorter than the tube. Calyx prominently 10–30(–60) veined; glabrous; valvate; tubular. Epicalyx absent. Corolla present, or absent; 0, or 5; 1 -whorled; polypetalous; dextrorsely or sinistrorsely contorted, or imbricate (rarely); variously coloured. Petals clawed. Corolla members deeply bifid, or entire (limb of petal distinct from claw). Androecium present, or absent. Fertile stamens present, or absent. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 10. Androecial members all equal; free of one another; 2 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 10; diplostemonous (obdiplostemonous); oppositisepalous. Anthers separate from one another; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; bilocular; tetrasporangiate. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent. Gynoecium 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; superior. Ovary unilocular (but 1–3–5-locular at the base); 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 3(–5); free; simple. Stigmas 3(–5); 1 - lobed. Placentation free central, or basal. Ovules campylotropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit 3–15 mm long; dehiscent; a capsule. Dispersal unit the seed. Perisperm present. Seeds minute, or small.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Holarctic. Adventive. Not endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. 2n=20, 24, 34, 48, 72, ca 96, ca 120, 240, 384?. A genus of ca 500 species; 3 species in Western Australia; 0 endemic to Western Australia.

B. Richardson, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine 2002. Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 2, dicotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study.. Canberra..
  • Blackall, William E.; Grieve, Brian J. 1988. How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part I : Dicotyledons (Casuarinaceae to Chenopodiaceae). University of W.A. Press.. [Perth]..
  • Marchant, N. G.; Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Bennett, E. M.; Lander, N. S.; Macfarlane, T. D.; Western Australian Herbarium 1987. Flora of the Perth region. Part one. Western Australian Herbarium.. [Perth]..