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Minuartia nifensis


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Family Caryophyllaceae

Herbs annual or perennial , rarely subshrubs or shrubs . Stems and branches usually swollen at nodes. Leaves opposite, decussate, rarely alternate or verticillate , simple , entire, usually connate at base ; stipules scarious , bristly , or often absent. Inflorescence of cymes or cymose panicles, rarely flowers solitary or few in racemes , capitula, pseudoverticillasters, or umbels. Flowers actinomorphic , bisexual , rarely unisexual , occasionally cleistogamous . Sepals (4 or) 5, free , imbricate, or connate into a tube , leaflike or scarious, persistent , sometimes bracteate below calyx. Petals (4 or) 5, rarely absent, free, often comprising claw and limb; limb entire or split, usually with coronal scales at juncture of claw and limb. Stamens (2--) 5--10, in 1 or 2 series. Pistil 1; carpels 2--5, united into a compound ovary. Ovary superior, 1-loculed or basally imperfectly 2--5-loculed. Gynophore present or absent. Placentation free, central, rarely basal; ovules (1 or) few or numerous , campylotropous. Styles (1 or) 2--5, sometimes united at base. Fruit usually a capsule, with pericarp crustaceous , scarious, or papery , dehiscing by teeth or valves 1 or 2 × as many as styles, rarely berrylike with irregular dehiscence or an achene. Seeds 1 to numerous, reniform , ovoid , or rarely dorsiventrally compressed , abaxially grooved , blunt , or sharply pointed , rarely fimbriate-pectinate; testa granular , striate or tuberculate , rarely smooth or spongy ; embryo strongly curved and surrounding perisperm or straight but eccentric ; perisperm mealy.

Between 75 and 80 genera and ca. 2000 species: widespread but mainly of temperate or warm-temperate occurrence in the N hemisphere, with principal centers of distribution in the Mediterranean region and W Asia to W China and the Himalayas, fewer species in Africa S of the Sahara, America, and Oceania; 30 genera (two endemic) and 390 species (193 endemic) in China.

Arenaria, Silene, and Stellaria contain over half the species in the family in China. They are mostly concentrated in the Qinghai-Xizang plateau , and are especially rich from the Hengduan Mountains to the Himalayas. The main uses of this family are medicinal and ornamental . Dianthus superbus, Pseudostellaria heterophylla, Stellaria dichotoma var. lanceolata, and Vaccaria hispanica are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine . Some species of Arenaria, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Psammosilene, and Silene are used as medicinal herbs among the people or are habitually used in local Chinese medicine. Many species of Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Saponaria, and Silene are grown as ornamentals. Atocion armeria (Linnaeus) Rafinesque ( Silene armeria Linnaeus), native to Russia and Europe, is also cultivated in China. It differs from Silene in having a corymbose inflorescence and obscure calyx veins. Wu Cheng-yih, Ke Ping, Zhou Li-hua, Tang Chang-lin & Lu De-quan. 1996. Caryophyllaceae. In: Tang Chang-lin, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 26: 47–449.[1]

Genus Minuartia

Herbs, annual , winter annual , or perennial , sometimes mat-forming. Taproots filiform to stout and woody, perennial plants often with branched caudex or with rhizomes or trailing stems. Stems ascending to erect or prostrate , simple or branched, ± terete . Leaves mostly connate proximally, petiolate (M. cumberlandensis, M. godfreyi proximal leaves) or sessile; blade 1-3-veined, sometimes obscurely so, filiform-linear to subulate , lanceolate or oblanceolate , rarely to ovate , herbaceous to succulent, apex blunt , rounded , or obtuse to acute, acuminate, or spinescent . Inflorescences terminal , open or seldom congested cymes or flowers solitary and terminal or axillary , rarely absent; bracts paired , herbaceous or scarious , rarely absent (M. pusilla, M. rossii). Pedicels erect to arcuate-spreading, rarely reflexed (M. drummondii) in fruit. Flowers: perianth and androecium perigynous; hypanthium usually disc-, occasionally dish- or cup-shaped; sepals 5, distinct , green (herbaceous portion purple in M. arctica, M. macrocarpa, and M. rossii), linear , lanceolate, or oblong to elliptic , ovate, or broadly ovate, 1.5-6(-9) mm, margins herbaceous or silvery and scarious, apex rounded or obtuse to acute, acuminate, or spinescent, sometimes hooded ; petals 5 or rarely absent, white, rarely pink (M. biflora) or lilac (M. marcescens), clawed (M. glabra, M. groenlandica) or not, blade apex entire, emarginate , or notched ; nectaries 5, at base of filaments opposite sepals, sometimes prominent and 2-lobed; stamens 10 (8-10 in M. godfreyi), arising from hypanthium; filaments distinct; staminodes absent; styles 3 (to 4 in M. cumberlandensis, M. godfreyi), filiform, 0.6-2.5 mm, glabrous proximally; stigmas 3 (to 4 in M. cumberlandensis, M. godfreyi), linear along adaxial surface of styles, minutely papillate (30×). Capsules ovoid to broadly ellipsoid or rarely globose , opening by 3 incurved or erect to recurved valves ; carpophore absent or sometimes present. Seeds 1-25, reddish brown to brown or black (or rarely yellowish or purplish brown), spherical or suborbiculate to reniform or obliquely triangular, plump or variously compressed , smooth , reticulate , tuberculate , muriculate-papillate, or rarely with long marginal papillae (M. macrocarpa), marginal wing absent (present in M. douglasii), appendage absent. x = 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 23.

Species ca. 175: temperate and arctic Northern Hemisphere, n Africa, Asia Minor .

The nectaries in Minuartia flowers are often enlarged (to 0.5 mm) and variously lobed ; they may not be apparent in fruiting material , possibly due to resorption by the developing flower following pollination. The hypanthium varies from disc- to cup-shaped and ranges in size from less than 1 mm to 3 to 4 mm in diameter (measured on the curve if cup-shaped). The cup-shaped hypanthium is best developed in fruiting material of M. arctica, M. obtusiloba, and relatives.

Minuartia is the second largest genus of Caryophyllaceae in our flora . It is the largest that here includes strictly native taxa. Of the eight genera with ten or more species, only Eremogone also is represented solely by native species .

J. McNeill (1962) outlined an infrageneric classification of Minuartia that included four subgenera and 12 sections within subg. Minuartia; our 33 species would be distributed among seven of those 12 sections. While we follow McNeill (1962, 1980b) in recognizing Arenaria and Minuartia, we have chosen not to adopt his hierarchy formally. Some of his groups do appear to represent natural assemblages ; others do not. One of the latter includes most of the Minuartia species native to the southeastern United States. McNeill (1962) placed these species in sect. Uninerviae (Fenzl) Mattfeld; J. Mattfeld (1922) divided them among three series within that section; Á. Löve and D. Löve (1975) segregated two species as the genus Porsildia. There has been no thorough subsequent study of the entire group that could further resolve the question. Molecular investigation of Minuartia (M. Nepokroeff et al. 2001) suggested that it is not monophyletic. One or more of the various segregate genera that have been proposed, originally based on morphological features, with some resurrected by Löve and Löve on cytological grounds , and that are now in use (e.g. , Alsinanthe, Alsinopsis, Lidia, Minuopsis, Tryphane; W. A. Weber and R. C. Wittmann 1992) may prove to be supported by dna analysis as well.[2]


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Similar Species

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Members of the genus Minuartia

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 57 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

M. arctica (Arctic Sandwort) · M. austromontana (Columbian Stitchwort) · M. biflora (Mountain Sandwort) · M. californica (California Sandwort) · M. caroliniana (Long-Root) · M. cismontana (Cismontane Minuartia) · M. cumberlandensis (Cumberland Sandwort) · M. dawsonensis (Rock Stitchwort) · M. decumbens (Lassics Sandwort) · M. douglasii (Douglas Sandwort) · M. douglasii var. douglasii (Douglas' Stitchwort) · M. drummondii (Drummond Sandwort) · M. elegans (Elegant Stitchwort) · M. filiorum (Thread-Branch Stitchwort) · M. glabra (Appalachian Sandwort) · M. godfreyi (Godfrey's Stitchwort) · M. groenlandica (Greenland Stitchwort) · M. howellii (Howell Sandwort) · M. hybrida (Fine Leaved Sandwort) · M. litorea (Seashore Stitchwort) · M. macrantha (House's Sandwort) · M. macrocarpa (Large-Fruited Sandwort) · M. marcescens (Dryleaf Sandwort) · M. michauxii (Michaux's Stitchwort) · M. michauxii var. michauxii (Michaux's Stitchwort) · M. michauxii var. texana (Texas Stitchwort) · M. muscorum (Dixie Stitchwort) · M. nuttallii (Nuttall Sandwort) · M. nuttallii fragilis (Brittle Sandwort) · M. nuttallii gracilis (Brittle Sandwort) · M. nuttallii gregaria (Nuttall Sandwort) · M. nuttallii nuttallii (Nuttall Sandwort) · M. nuttallii subsp. fragilis (Brittle Sandwort) · M. nuttallii subsp. gracilis (Brittle Sandwort) · M. nuttallii subsp. gregaria (Brittle Sandwort) · M. obtusiloba (Alpine Sandwort) · M. patula (Glade Sandwort) · M. patula var. patula (Pitcher's Stitchwort) · M. pusilla (Annual Sandwort) · M. pusilla var. diffusa (Annual Sandwort) · M. pusilla var. pusilla (Annual Sandwort) · M. rosei (Peanut Sandwort) · M. rossii (Ross Sandwort) · M. rubella (Beautiful Sandwort) · M. stolonifera (Scott Mountain Sandwort) · M. stricta (Bog Stitchwort) · M. tenella (Slender Sandwort) · M. uniflora (One-Flower Stitchwort) · M. verna (Irish Moss) · M. verna caespitosa (Moss Sandwort) · M. verna verna (Vernal Stitchwort) · M. woronowii (Kachim Shovitsa) · M. nuttallii (Ginger Mint) · M. nuttallii (Blue Balsam) · M. nuttallii (Mint) · M. nuttallii (Foxtail Mint) · M. yukonensis (Yukon Stitchwort)

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Further Reading

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  1. Dequan Lu, Zhengyi Wu, Lihua Zhou, Shilong Chen, Michael G. Gilbert, Magnus Lidén, John McNeill, John K. Morton, Bengt Oxelman, Richard K. Rabeler, Mats Thulin, Nicholas J. Turland & Warren L. Wagner "Caryophyllaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 6 Page 1. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. Richard K. Rabeler, Ronald L. Hartman, Frederick H. Utech "Minuartia". in Flora of North America Vol. 5. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-04