Carnation Family

Annual or perennial herbs, occasionally shrubs. Leaves simple, entire, usually opposite and often joined around the stem which is often weak and with swollen joints; stipules, when present, very small. Flowers mostly bisexual, radially symmetric, usually in terminal clusters. Sepals 4-5, free or fused, occasionally in a long tube ending in calyx teeth. Petals 4-5, free, occasionally absent. Stamens of the same number or double that of the petals. Carpels 2-5 fused together. Ovary superior, 1-celled, with 1-many ovules having basal or free-central placentation. Styles 2-5, free. Fruit a capsule opening by teeth or flaps, occasionally a berry or 1-seeded nutlet; seeds usually kidney-shaped.

Several species are cosmopolitan weeds of gardens and disturbed ground.

A family of little economic importance except for floristry where widely known for the pinks and carnations.

96 genera, about 2500 species cosmopolitan but mostly northern temperate with a centre of diversity in the Mediterranean.

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Caryophyllaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Caryophyllanae
order      Caryophyllales
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
genus        Cerastium L.
genus        Dianthus L.
genus        Gypsophila L.
genus        Herniaria L.
genus        Lychnis L.
genus        Sagina L.
genus        Saponaria L.
genus        Scleranthus L.
genus        Silene L.
genus        Spergula L.
genus        Stellaria L.