Low annual glabrous erect simple or branched herbs, with alternate small entire sessile or short-petioled leaves, or the lower opposite, and minute solitary axillary flowers. Calyx 4-5-parted, persistent, the lobes longer than the corolla. Corolla 4-5-cleft, marcescent, the tube subglobose, the lobes entire, acute, spreading. Stamens 4-5, inserted on the throat of the corolla; filaments short, glabrous, distinct; anthers ovate or cordate, obtuse; stigma capitate. Ovules numerous, amphitropous. Capsule globose, circumscissile, many-seeded. Seeds minute, flat on the back. [Latin, diminutive of cento, a patch.]

Three species, of wide geographic distribution. In addition to the following typical one, another occurs in Florida.

1. Centunculus Minimus L. Chaffweed. False Pimpernel

Fig. 3301

Centunculus minimus L. Sp. Pl. 116. 1753.

Simple or branched, very slender, 1'-6' high. Leaves spatulate, obovate or oblong, short-petioled, obtuse or acutish, 2"-4" long, 1"-2" wide; flowers sessile or very nearly so in the axils, shorter than the leaves, mostly 4-parted, 1"-2" broad; calyx-lobes linear or linear-lanceolate, acuminate; corolla pink; capsule shorter than the calyx.

In moist soil, Illinois and Minnesota to British Columbia, south to Florida, Texas and Mexico. Also in Europe and South America. Bastard pimpernel. April-Sept.

1 Centunculus Minimus L Chaffweed False Pimpernel 1643