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a genus of plants of the family Caryophillaceae. They are annual and, more rarely, perennial small grasses with linear opposite leaves and opaque flowers. The calyx is bell-shaped with five prongs; there are no petals. It has ten stamens and two styles; it produces a monospermous fruit. Ten species are found in Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. There are four or five in the USSR, found in the European part and the Caucasus. The most common variety is the annual Scleranthus annuus, which grows on dry meadows and as a weed in cultivated fields.