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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of plants of the family Caryophyllaceae. The plants are annual or perennial herbs and, less frequently, sub-shrubs. The flowers are solitary or in dichasia, which are gathered in larger panicled or spicate inflorescences. The calyx is gamophyllous. The white, greenish, pink, or purple corolla often has a crown. There are five petals; the ovary usually has three styles. The fruit is a capsule.

There are approximately 400 species, distributed in the northern and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, predominantly in the Mediterranean region. About 180 species are found in the USSR. The genus includes a number of annual weeds, for example, 5. dichotoma. S. vulgaris, a perennial having a swollen calyx and a white corolla, commonly grows in meadows and thickets; sometimes it grows as a weed among crops. Several species are ornamentals, including the annuals S. coeli-rosa and S. pendula and their numerous varieties and the perennials S. acaulis and S. schafta, which form matty clumps in rocky places.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.