This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Annual erect herbs, often viscid-pubescent above, with cymose-umbellate, white flowers on long terminal peduncles. Sepals 5. Petals 5, emarginate or eroded. Stamens 3-5, hypogynous. Styles 3. Ovary I-celled, many-ovuled. Capsule ovoid-cylindrical, dehiscent by 6 short valves or teeth. Seeds compressed, attached by the inner face, rough. [Greek, signifying all bone, an antiphrase, the herbs being tender.]
About 3 species, natives of Europe and temperate Asia, the following typical.
Holosteum umbellatum L. Sp. Pl. 88. 1753.
Glabrous or slightly downy below, viscid and glandular-pubescent above, simple, tufted, 5'-12' high. Basal leaves spreading, oblanceolate or oblong; stem-leaves oblong, acute or obtuse, sessile, 1/2'-1' long; umbel terminal, 3-8-flowered; pedicels very slender, about 1' long, erect or ascending in flower, subsequently reflexed and again erect when the fruit is mature; flowers white, 2"-3" broad; sepals obtuse, about 2" long, scarious-margined, somewhat shorter than the eroded petals; capsule ovoid, nearly twice the length of the sepals, its teeth recurved.
Very abundant in the vicinity of Lancaster, Pa.; Delaware; Georgia. Naturalized from Europe. Native also of northern Asia. April-May.
Moenchia erecta (L.) Gaertn., a low annual, native of Europe, with entire petals, an 8-toothed ovoid pod, the styles opposite the sepals, collected many years ago about Philadelphia and Baltimore, has not been found there recently, and is not illustrated in this edition.