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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 416. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)

revised by Y. J. Nasir

General/Distribution: 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.
Comment/Acknowledgements: 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.


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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.


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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) Plant not gynodioecious. Seeds pusticulate or not (5)
+ Plants gynodioecious. Seeds with conical tubercles 10 Silene laxantha
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 8-18 (-20) mm long, 15-20-nerved (8)
+ Calyx 22-25 mm long, 30-nerved 25 Silene conoidea
8 (7) Calyx 14-18(-20) mm long, inflated in fruit. Petal limb deeply lobed 16 Silene vulgaris
+ Calyx 8-12 mm long, not inflated in fruit. Petal limb entire 26 Silene coniflora
9 (6) Calyx length 22-35 mm (10)
+ Calyx length less 25 mm (12)
10 (9) Upper part of stem (-s) and calyx pubescent. Base of peal claw and filaments glabrous (11)
+ Upper part of stem (-s) and calyx glabrous. Base of petal claw and filaments hairy 4 Silene staintonii
11 (10) Calyx length 22-27 mm, glandular-pubescent 17 Silene moorcroftiana
+ Calyx length 30-35 mm, pubescent, sparsely glandular 19 Silene longisepala
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 absent or ± equalling calyx length 24 Silene apetala
+ Corolla distinctly exceeding calyx length 23 Silene colorata
17 (12) Flowers in opposite congested cymules. Leaves in pseudowhorls at the nodes
+ 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
+ Perennial with glandular-pubescent parts. Leaves ovate to broadly ovate. Petal limb bifid 27 Silene ovalifolia
20 (18) Stems without divaricate branching. Pedicels not filiform (21)
+ Stems with divaricate branching. Pedicels filiform 21 Silene arenosa
21 (20) Leaves with sterile axillary fascicles (24)
+ Leaves without axillary fascicles (21)
22 Perennials. Flowers terminally disposed. Petals not adnate (23)
+ 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
23 (22) Basal leaves spathulate. Calyx cylindrical, glabrous. Petal claw and filaments hairy 3 Silene afghanica
+ Basal leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate. Calyx campanulate, glandular-pubescent. Petal claw and filaments glabrous 14 Silene citrina
24 (21) Petal limb auricled (25)
+ Petal limb not auricled (26)
25 (24) Pedicels eglandular. Petals glabrous to the outside, limb margin not toothed 18 Silene persica
+ Pedicels glandular-hairy. Petals glandular-pubescent to the outside, limb margin 15 Silene joerstadii
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
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