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(spurry), a genus of plants of the family Caryophyl-laceae. The small, mostly annual herbs have ascending or spreading stems that are strongly branched from the base. The leaves are linear and opposite, but they appear to be whorled, owing to the development of short shoots with clusters of leaves at the axils. The small, white, five-parted flowers are in loose inflorescences. The fruit is a many-seeded, five-valved capsule.
There are four to six species, distributed in temperate regions of both hemispheres. All are found in the USSR, where they grow mainly on sandy soils. The most common species is S. arvensis, which grows in the European USSR, the Caucasus, Siberia, and the Far East. The plant is found along roads, near dwellings, and in wastelands. It also grows as a weed in plantings of spring crops. One plant may yield as many as 28,000 easily disseminated seeds that contaminate the soil. S. linicola and 5. maxima are weeds of flax. The green parts of Spergula are a good livestock feed and are suitable for silage.