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 or perennial herbs, with cymose or solitary, mainly pink, red or white flowers. Calyx more or less inflated, tubular, ovoid or campanulate, 5-toothed or 5-cleft, 10-many-nerved, not bracted at the base. Petals 5, narrow, clawed, usually with a scale at the base of the blade. Stamens 10. Styles 3 (rarely 4 or 5); ovary I-celled, or incompletely 2-4-celled. Pod dehiscent by 6 or rarely 3 apical teeth. Seeds mainly spiny or tubercled. [Greek, saliva, in allusion to the viscid secretions of many species.]
About 250 species of wide geographic distribution. In addition to the following, some 35 others occur in the southern and western parts of the continent. Type species: Silene anglica L.
Erect or ascending herbs; flowers clustered (sometimes solitary in nos. 3-7).
Leaves or some of them verticillate in 4's.
Leaves all opposite.
Calyx much inflated and bladdery.
Flowers few, leafy-bracted.
Flowers numerous, in leafless cymes.
Calyx merely expanded by the ripening pod.
Flowers cymose or paniculate.
Day-blooming; flowers rarely white, mostly pink or red.
Perennials, more or less viscid-pubescent.
Leaves lanceolate or spatulate; flowers numerous.
Flowers in terminal cymes, erect.
Leaves broadly oblong to obovate; flowers few or solitary
Petals erose, entire, or emarginate.
Petals scarlet; p!ant 3°-4° tall.
Petals pink; plant 4'-10' high.
Annuals, glutinous at or below the nodes.
Flowers small, panicled; calyx-teeth ovate.
Flowers large, cymose; calyx-teeth subulate.
S. conic a.
Calyx club-shaped; flowers large, cymose.
Night-blooming; flowers large, white; annual.
Flowers spicate or racemose, short-pedicelled.
Spicate raceme simple; flowers small.
Raceme forked; flowers 6"-8" broad.
Flowers axillary and terminal, slender-pedicelled; western.