Fourleaf manyseed Polycarpon tetraphyllum, copyright Forest & Kim Starr.

Belongs within: Caryophyllales.
Contains: Polycarpaea, Scleranthus, Minuartia, Stellaria, Colobanthus, Spergularia, Cerastium, Sagina, Arenaria, Silene, Dianthus.

The Caryophyllaceae are a cosmopolitan family of herbaceous plants, most diverse in temperate regions. Familiar representatives include Dianthus (pinks), Stellaria (chickweeds) and Gypsophila (baby’s breath). Some species have become widespread as pasture weeds. In members of the subfamily Illecebroideae, stipules are present on the leaves; other subfamilies usually lack stipules. Illecebroideae also differ from other subfamilies in having fruits as utricles rather than capsules. The Caryophylloideae have flowers with sepals more or less fused at the base whereas Minuartoideae and Illecebroideae have free sepals. Within Illecebroideae, species of Cardionema and Paronychia bear awned sepals (Hickman 1993).

Characters (from Allan 1961): Annual to perennial herbs; leaves usually simple, entire, opposite, often connate, or with scarious stipules. Flowers in simple to compound cymes, or solitary; usually perfect, hypogynous or perigynous; sepals 4-5, free or joined below; petals as many as sepals, often small or absent, free, often bifid or emarginate; stamens up to 10, anthers dehiscing longitudinally; ovary one-celled, at least in upper part, ovules 1 to many on basal or free-central placenta, embryo usually curved; fruit usually a dry capsule opening by teeth or valves.

<==Caryophyllaceae [Caryophyllineae, Illecebraceae, Paronychieae]
    |--Illecebroideae [Illecebraceae, Paronychoideae]T00
    |    |--Achyronychia cooperiH93
    |    |--Scopulophila rixfordiiH93
    |    |--Cardionema ramosissimumH93
    |    |--ScleranthusA61
    |    |--HerniariaC06
    |    |    |--H. alpinaC55a
    |    |    `--H. hirsutaPT98
    |    |         |--H. h. ssp. hirsutaH93
    |    |         `--H. h. ssp. cinerea [incl. Paronychia pusilla]H93
    |    `--ParonychiaH93
    |         |--P. ahartiiH93
    |         |--P. argenteaC74
    |         |--P. brasilianaH90
    |         |--P. echinulataH93
    |         `--P. franciscanaH93
    |--Minuartioideae [Alsineae, Alsinoideae]T00
    |    |--MinuartiaKB96
    |    |--StellariaC06
    |    |--ColobanthusC06
    |    |--SpergulariaC06
    |    |--CerastiumH93
    |    |--Pseudostellaria jamesiana [=Stellaria jamesiana]H93
    |    |--Holosteum umbellatumH93
    |    |--SaginaH93
    |    |--ArenariaH93
    |    |--Moehringia macrophylla [=Arenaria macrophylla]H93
    |    |--Loeflingia squarrosaH93
    |    |    |--L. s. var. squarrosa [incl. L. pusilla]H93
    |    |    `--L. s. var. artemisiarumH93
    |    |--MoenchiaH93
    |    |    |--M. erectaH93
    |    |    `--M. manticaY98
    |    |--AlsineC55b
    |    |    |--A. biflora [=Stellaria biflora]C55b
    |    |    |--A. mediaC55b
    |    |    `--A. stricta [=Spergula stricta; incl. Arenaria uliginosa]C55b
    |    |--SpergulaH93
    |    |    |--S. arvensisC55b
    |    |    |--S. fallaxVB02
    |    |    |--S. pentandraC06
    |    |    `--S. saginoidesC55a
    |    `--PolycarponH93
    |         |--P. alsinaefoliumC55b
    |         |--P. depressumH93
    |         |--P. peploidesC74
    |         |--P. prostratumP03
    |         `--P. tetraphyllum (Linnaeus) Linnaeus 1759PL04 [=Mollugo tetraphyllaH90]
    `--Caryophylloideae [Silenoideae]T00
         |         AgrostemmaH93
         |           |--A. aestivalisBO08
         |           |--A. flammeaBO08
         |           `--A. githagoJK80
         |         PetrorhagiaH93
         |           |--P. armerioides (Seringe) Ball & Heywood 1964PL04
         |           |--P. dubia [incl. Kohlrauschia velutina]H93
         |           |--P. nanteuiliiH93
         |           |--P. proliferaGK00 [=Dianthus proliferC06, Tunica proliferaH93]
         |           `--P. velutinaGK00
         |         Velezia rigidaH93
         |         VaccariaH93
         |           |--V. hispanica [incl. V. segetalis]H93
         |           `--V. pyramidataH90
         |    |--SileneC06
         |    `--GypsophilaC06
         |         |--G. australisH90
         |         |--G. cerastioidesO88
         |         |--G. elegansH93
         |         |--G. paniculataH93
         |         |--G. petraeaH09
         |         |--G. repensS96
         |         |--G. scorzonerifoliaH93
         |         `--G. tubulosaC06
              |--Caryophyllus aromaticusC55b
              |    |--S. caespitosaR84
              |    |--S. calabricaH90
              |    |--S. officinalisC55b
              |    `--S. vaccariaC55b
                   |--L. alpinaC55b
                   |--L. chalcedonicaH90
                   |--L. coronariaC06
                   |--L. dioicaR13
                   |--L. flos-cuculiBN99
                   |--L. githago [incl. Githago segetum]C06
                   `--L. vespertinaC06
Caryophyllaceae incertae sedis:
    |--M. albumGM96
    `--M. magellanicumD03
  Thylacospermum caespitosumO88
    |--D. cordataO88
    |    |--D. c. ssp. cordataH90
    |    `--D. c. ssp. diandraH90
    |--D. holosteoidesMF68
    `--D. villosaD07
  Lepyrodiclis holosteoidesO88
  Bolanthus graecus (von Schreber) Barkoudah 1962PL04
  Viscaria alpinaKB96
  Corrigiola litoralisGK00
  Schiedea verticillataO94
  Hantsia pulchra (Chandler) Chandler 1960CBH93
  Caryophyllidites polyoratus Muller 1970CBH93

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[MF68] Moran, R., & R. Felger. 1968. Castela polyandra, a new species in a new section; union of Holacantha with Castela (Simaroubaceae). Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 15 (4): 31–40.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: an introductory note. In: Ohba, H., & S. B. Malla (eds) The Himalayan Plants vol. 1. The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19–46.

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