Mostly annual, generally diffuse herbs, with cymose white flowers. Sepals 5, rarely 4. Petals of the same number, usually deeply 2-cleft, or 2-parted, white in our species, rarely none. Stamens 10 or fewer, hypogynous. Ovary I-celled, several or many-ovuled; styles commonly 3, rarely 4-5, usually opposite the sepals. Capsule globose, ovoid or oblong, dehiscent by twice as many valves as there are styles. Seeds smooth or roughened, globose or compressed. [Greek, grove, the habitat of some species.]

Species about 75, widely distributed, most abundant in temperate or cold climates. Linnaeus divided the ancient genus Alsine into Alsine and Stellaria, united again by subsequent authors. Type species: Alsine media L.

Styles 5; leaves ovate, 1'-2' long.

1.

A. aquatica.

Styles 3, rarely 4.

Leaves broad, ovate, ovate-oblong or oblong-lanceolate.

Plants glabrous, or with a few scattered hairs.

Flowers few, terminal; leaves ovate. 2"-?," long.

2.

A. humifusa.

Cymes lateral; leaves oblong, 5"-12" long.

3.

A. uliginosa.

Stems with 1 or 2 pubescent lines; petioles often ciliate.

Petals shorter than the calyx; lower leaves petioled.

4.

A. media.

Petals longer than the calyx, or as long; lower leaves rarely petioled.

Petals longer than the blunt sepals.

5.

A. pubera.

Petals as long as the acute or acuminate sepals.

6.

A. tennesseensis.

Leaves narrow, linear, oblong, oblanceolate or spatulate.

Flowers 7"-10" broad.

Leaves lanceolate, ciliate.

7.

A. Holostea.

Leaves linear, glabrous.

8.

A. glauca.

Flowers only 2"-6" broad.

Bracts of the cyme small, scarious.

Pedicels widely spreading; cyme diffuse.

Leaves linear, acute at each end; seeds smooth.

9.

A. longifolia.

Leaves lanceolate, broadest below; seeds rough.

10.

A. graminea.

Pedicels erect; flowers few or solitary.

11.

A. longipes.

Bracts of the cyme foliaceous, resembling the upper leaves.

Capsule 1 1/2-2 times as long as the calyx; leaves lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate.

Seeds rough; petals equalling or longer than the calyx.

12.

A. crassifolia.

Seeds smooth; petals much shorter than the calyx or none.

13.

A. borealis.

Capsule not longer than the calyx; leaves linear or linear-spatulate; petals none.

14.

A. fontinalis.