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Pakistan | Family List | Caryophyllaceae

18. Silene L., Sp. Pl. 416. 1753. Gen. Pl. ed. 5.194.1954; Boiss., Fl. Or. 1:567.1867; Rohrb., Monogr. der Gatt. Silene 1867, Leipzig; Schischkin in Kom., URSS. 6:577.1936; Chowdhuri, in Notes R.B.G. Edinb. 22:221.278; Coode & Cullen in Davis, Fl. Turk. 2:179.1967.


revised by Y. J. Nasir

Annual or perennial herbs with ascending to decumbent or erect stems (perennial usually with a woody rootstock). Leaves radical and cauline, of shape; radical leaves usually with a long attenuate base. Flowers solitary, in racemose or dichasia or paniculate cymes (see below). Calyx tubular, 5-toothed, (5-) 10-30-nerved. Petals with a distinct limb and claw; coronal scales present. Stamens 10, in 2 whorls. Styles 3-5. Ovary, stamen and petals borne on a carpophore (anthophore). Fruit a capsule, dehiscing by teeth, twice the number of styles. Seeds usually reniform, globose or subreniform, smooth or variously sculptured, back often grooved, sometimes winged or papillose.

The definition of the types of inflorescence in Silene is difficult but very important in the classification of the species. In the perennials the basic form of inflorescence is a 3-flowered cyme, with more or less equal pedicels, called dichasium (the lateral pedicels opposite). A compound dichasium is one in which the lateral branches in turn bear dichasia, so that a 5-7-many-flowered dicha shim is formed. A panicle is where the main axis terminates in a flower, the lateral branches (arising from main stern) bearing dichasia or 1-2-flowers. The solitary flower is considered to be derived from a dichasium by the suppression of its lateral branches. A monochasium is a derivative of the cyme in which the suppression of some branches results in a racemelike inflorescence.

Some species are gynodioecious. In these the hermaphrodite and functionally female flowers are borne on the same plant. The functionally female are usually smaller, with 5 small stamens, never exserted, and pale yellow anthers containing sterile pollen grains.

A large complex and polymorphic genus represented by about 600 species in the temperate regions of the world. The main concentration of species is in Europe, Asia and North Africa. In Pakistan 28 species are found, most of which are central Asiatic or Himalayan in their affinities. The perennials are usually found in the mountain areas and annuals in the plains, often weedy.

Species not seen or requiring confirmation

Silene cabulica Bornm. in Bot. Jahrb. 46:221.1934; R. R. Stewart in Annot. Cat. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 251.1972.

An annual. R. R. Stewart (l.c.) mentions several gatherings from the Kurram and Baluchistan. The record needs confirmation.

Species indeterminate

Silene sp.: Jutial nala, 9000', above Gilgit, R. R. Stewart 26266 (RAW).

The above gathering bears some resemblance to S. shafta G. Gmel., but differs in the narrower lanceolate leaves and a mixed indumen of glandular eglandular hairs on the calyx and pedicels. More material is required to verify taxonomic status.

1 Styles 5. Capsule dehiscing by 10 or 5 bifid teeth   (2)
+ Styles 3. Capsule dehiscing by 6 teeth   (6)
2 (1) Calyx 17-20 mm, at anthesis elongate-campanulate or broadly so   (3)
+ Calyx 11-15 mm, at anthesis, campanulate, if less, than flowers only female   (4)
3 (2) Flowers crect at anthesis. Radical leaves oval. Calyx elongate-campanulte   11 Silene longicarpophora
+ Flowers nodding at anthesis. Radical leaves obovate or narrowly so. Calyx broad campanulate   8 Silene bungei
4 (2) Plants gynodioecious. Seeds with conical tubercles   10 Silene laxantha
+ Plant not gynodioecious. Seeds pusticulate or not   (5)
5 (4) Cauline leaves linear-lanceolate, lanceolate or broadly so. Seeds compressed laterally or angular, winged or narrowly so. Plant parts glandular-pubescent   Silene gonosperma subsp. himalayensis
+ Cauline leaves usually orbicular-cordate to elliptic or ovate-lanceolate. Seeds reniform, pusticulate. Plants parts eglandular   9 Silene indica
6 (1) Calyx nerves 15-30 in number   (7)
+ Calyx nerves 10 in number   (9)
7 (6) Calyx 22-25 mm long, 30-nerved   25 Silene conoidea
+ Calyx 8-18 (-20) mm long, 15-20-nerved   (8)
8 (7) Calyx 8-12 mm long, not inflated in fruit. Petal limb entire   26 Silene coniflora
+ Calyx 14-18(-20) mm long, inflated in fruit. Petal limb deeply lobed   16 Silene vulgaris
9 (6) Calyx length 22-35 mm   (10)
+ Calyx length less 25 mm   (12)
10 (9) Upper part of stem (-s) and calyx glabrous. Base of petal claw and filaments hairy   4 Silene staintonii
+ Upper part of stem (-s) and calyx pubescent. Base of peal claw and filaments glabrous   (11)
11 (10) Calyx length 30-35 mm, pubescent, sparsely glandular   19 Silene longisepala
+ Calyx length 22-27 mm, glandular-pubescent   17 Silene moorcroftiana
12 (9) Calyx up to 10 mm long   (13)
+ Calyx more than 10 mm long   (17)
13 (12) Stem (-s) glabrous. Leaves basally congested, cauline leaves few(2-3 pairs)   (14)
+ Stem pubescent, ± leafy throughout. Leaves not basally congested   (15)
14 (13) Annuals. Flowers solitary. Calyx inflated, membranous in fruit   20 Silene nana
+ Perennials. Flowers racemose. Calyx not inflated or membranous   6 Silene tenuis
15 (13) Annuals. Flowers 1-5 in number. Seeds deeply grooved at the back   (16)
+ Perennials. Flowers in panicles. Seeds not grooved at the back   12 Silene falconeriana
16 (15) Corolla distinctly exceeding calyx length   23 Silene colorata
+ Corolla absent or ± equalling calyx length   24 Silene apetala
17 (12) Flowers in opposite congested cymules. Leaves in pseudowhorls at the nodes   1 Silene pseudo-verticellata
+ Flowers and leaves not as above   (18)
18 (17) Calyx lobes linear, 5-10 mm long   (19)
+ Calyx lobes ovate-acute to subacuminate, 2-3 mm long   (20)
19 (18) Annual with globrous parts. Leaves linear-lanceolate. Petal limb entire   28 Silene coeli-rosea
+ Perennial with glandular-pubescent parts. Leaves ovate to broadly ovate. Petal limb bifid   27 Silene ovalifolia
20 (18) Stems with divaricate branching. Pedicels filiform   21 Silene arenosa
+ Stems without divaricate branching. Pedicels not filiform   (21)
21 (20) Leaves with sterile axillary fascicles   (24)
+ Leaves without axillary fascicles   (21)
22 Annuals. Flowers axillary more or less throughout the length of the stem. Upper 2/3rd of petals more or less adnate to each other   22 Silene villosa
+ Perennials. Flowers terminally disposed. Petals not adnate   (23)
23 (22) Basal leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate. Calyx campanulate, glandular-pubescent. Petal claw and filaments glabrous   14 Silene citrina
+ Basal leaves spathulate. Calyx cylindrical, glabrous. Petal claw and filaments hairy   3 Silene afghanica
24 (21) Petal limb auricled   (25)
+ Petal limb not auricled   (26)
25 (24) Pedicels glandular-hairy. Petals glandular-pubescent to the outside, limb margin   15 Silene joerstadii
+ Pedicels eglandular. Petals glabrous to the outside, limb margin not toothed   18 Silene persica
26 (24) Petal limb bilobed. Coronal scales present   (27)
+ Petal limb bilobed, the lobes further divided. Coronal scales absent   5 Silene viscosa
27 (26) Plants gynodioecious. Stem (-s) pubescent. Petal claw and filament glabrous   13 Silene brahuica
+ Plants not gynodioecious. Stem (-s) glabrous. Petal claw and filaments hairy   2 Silene kunawarensis

  • List of lower taxa


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