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

1a. Polycarpon tetraphyllum (Linnaeus) Linnaeus subsp. tetraphyllum

Stems prostrate to erect, 3-15 cm. Leaves in whorls of 4 or opposite; stipules 1.8-2.8 mm; blade elliptic, ovate, or obovate, 2-12 mm. Inflorescence bracts absent. Flowers: sepals with keel and apex sometimes purplish, keeled, 1.5-2.5 mm; petals linear to oblong, 0.5-0.8 mm, ca. 1/ 2 times as long as sepals; stamens 3(-5). Capsules clasped by calyx, broadly ovoid, valve margins rolled inward after dehiscence. Seeds ovoid to lenticular, 0.4-0.8 mm, finely papillate. 2n = 32, 48, 64 (all Europe).

Flowering spring-fall. Waste places, cultivated land; 0-1400 m; introduced; B.C. ; Ala., Calif., Fla., Ga., S.C., Tex.; s Europe (Mediterranean region); considered cosmopolitan via introduction, at least in part from ships' ballast.

Historic records are known from Massachusetts [wool waste, North Worcester (Woodward in 1917, GH)] and Pennsylvania [ballast at Philadelphia (Burk in 1880, PH), South Bethlehem, 1890s (T. C. Porter 1892)].


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