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.

1. Holosteum Umbellatum L. Jagged Chickweed

Fig. 1772

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.

1 Holosteum Umbellatum L Jagged Chickweed 114