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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 5 | Caryophyllaceae | Silene

70. Silene wrightii A. Gray, Smithsonian Contr. Knowl. 5(6): 17. 1853.

Wright's catchfly

Plants perennial, viscid; taproot stout; caudex branched, woody. Stems several, simple or branched, spreading to ascending, leafy, 10-30 cm, densely pubes-cent, glandular. Leaves 2 per node, mostly cauline, blade 1.5-6 cm × 3-14 mm, apex sharply acuminate, pubescent and viscid on both surfaces; distal sessile, blade elliptic-lanceolate; proximal short-petiolate, blade oblanceolate. Inflorescences leafy, flowers terminal and axillary. Pedicels straight, rather slender, 1/ 5 times to equaling calyx. Flowers: calyx prominently 10-veined, tubular to narrowly obconic in flower, 16-20 × 4-5 mm, clavate and broadening to 7 mm in fruit, narrowed proximally around carpophore, coarsely glandular-pubescent and viscid, veins parallel, green, with pale commissures, lobes narrowly lanceolate, 5-7 mm, margins narrow, membranous, apex acuminate; corolla white to pale yellow, sometimes purple tinged, clawed, ca. 2 times calyx, claw longer than calyx, broadened into obtriangular limb, limb 5-8 mm, cleft ca. to middle into (2-)4-8 lanceolate to oblong lobes, appendages 2, very short; stamens exserted, shorter than petals; styles 3, exserted, slender, shorter than petals. Capsules narrowly ovoid, equaling calyx, opening by 3 teeth that tardily split into 6; carpophore 3-6 mm. Seeds brown, broadly reniform, flattened, ca. 1.5 mm, sides rugose, margins papillate; papillae conic, acute. 2n = 96.

Flowering summer. Cliff crevices in mountains; 1800-2800 m; N.Mex.

Silene wrightii is an uncommon, distinct species with large, pale yellowish flowers and tubular to narrowly funnelform calyces with long, narrow, lanceolate lobes. The leaves are mainly cauline, with the largest in the mid-stem region. The stems are few-branched and arise in tufts from the very woody caudex.


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