From Academic Kids

Pink family
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White campion, Silene latifolia

White campion (Silene latifolia)
Scientific classification

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The Caryophyllaceae, the Pink or Carnation family, are a family of dicotyledons, flowering plants, included in the order Caryophyllales. This is a large family with 88 genera and some 2,000 species.

This is a cosmopolitan family of herbaceous plants from temperate climates. A few grow on tropical mountains. Carnations, Firepink, and Campion are representative members. Many species are grown as ornamental plants, but some are widespread weeds. Most species grow in the Mediterranean and bordering regions of Europe and Asia. The number of genera and species in the southern hemisphere is rather small.

Despite its size and the somewhat doubtful mutual relationships, this family is rather uniform and easily recognizable. Most are herbacaceous annuals or perennials, dying off above ground each year. A few species are bushy with a woody rhizome, or even small trees. Most plants are non-succulent, i.e. having no fleshy stems or leaves. The nodes on the stem are swollen.

The leaves are almost always opposite, rarely whorled. The blades are entire, petiolate and often stipulate. These stipules are not sheathforming.

The hermaphroditic flowers are terminal, blooming singly or in branched or forked in cymes. The inflorescence can be dichasial. This means that in the axil of each peduncle ( = primary flower stalk) of the terminal flower in the cyme, two new single-flower branches sprout up on each side of and below the first flower. If the terminal flowers are absent, then this can lead to monochasia, i.e. a monoparous cyme with a single flower on each axis of the inflorescence. In the extreme, this leads to a single flower, such as in Dianthus.

The flowers are regular and mostly 5-merous, i.e. with 5 petals and 5 sepals, but sometimes with 4 petals. The sepals are free fron one another or united. The petals are fringed or deeply cleft at the end.

There is a distinct calyx and corolla. The calyx may be cylindrically inflated, as in Silene. The stamens number 5, 8 or 10. They are mostly isomerous with the perianth. The superior gynoecium has 2 to 5 carpels (members of a compound pistil) and is syncarpous, i.e. with these carpels united in a compound ovary. This ovary is 1-locular, i.e. having one chamber inside the ovary.

The fruit is non-fleshy. It is usually a capsule, less frequently a small nut.

This family is usually divided in three subfamilies :

  • Alsinoideae: no stipules; petals not united
  • Silenoideae: no stipules; petals united
  • Paronychioideae: with fleshy stipules; petals separate or united.


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Thyme-leaved Sandwort (Arenaria serpyllifolia)
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Thyme-leaved Sandwort (Arenaria serpyllifolia) flower

de:Nelkengewńchse es:Caryophyllaceae fr:CaryophyllacÚe lt:Gvazdikiniai augalai nl:Caryophyllaceae pl:Goździkowate pt:Caryophyllaceae


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