Plants perennial, forming small to large clumps or mats, or diffuse, from slender rhizomes. Stems erect to straggling, branched or not, 4-angled, 3-32 cm, glabrous or softly pubescent, angles not minutely papillate-scabrid. Leaves sessile; blade green, frequently glaucous, 1-3-veined, midrib prominent, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, widest at base, 0.4-2.6(-4) cm × 1-4 mm, strongly coriaceous or not, base round, margins entire, convex, glabrous or ciliate, apex acute to acuminate, not spinescent, shiny, smooth, glabrous or sparingly villous, base usually glabrous, rarely with few cilia. Inflorescences with flowers solitary, or terminal, 3-30-flowered (rarely more) cymes; bracts lanceolate, 2-10 mm, herbaceous with scarious margins, or scarious throughout, glabrous or ciliate. Pedicels ascending to erect, straight, 5-30 mm, glabrous or softly pubescent. Flowers 5-10 mm diam.; sepals 5, 3-veined, midrib prominent, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 3.5-5 mm, margins convex, narrow, scarious, sometimes ciliate, apex acute, glabrous or pubescent; petals 5, 3-8 mm, 1-1.5 times as long as sepals; stamens 5-10; styles 3(-6), ascending, curled at tip, ca. 1.5 mm. Capsules blackish purple or straw colored, ovoid to ovoid-lanceoloid, 4-6 mm, 1.5-2 times as long as sepals, apex broadly acute, opening by 6 valves; carpophore absent. Seeds brown, reniform to globose, 0.6-0.9 mm diam., shallowly tuberculate to smooth. 2n = 52-104, (107).
Rhizomatous perennial 0.5-2(3) dm, glabrous and often glaucous; lvs 1-4 cm, lance-linear or linear, widest at or near the base; cymes dichotomous, terminal or appearing lateral; bracts scarious; pedicels ascending to erect, 1-3(6) cm; sep 4-4.5 mm, lanceolate or lance-ovate, obtuse or acutish; pet surpassing the sep; fr ovoid-conic, conspicuously longer than the sep, dark purple when ripe; seeds oblong to oval, 0.75-1 mm, obscurely sculptured; 2n=26-107, most often 52, 78, or 104. Grassy places along streams or in moist, gravelly or sandy areas; circumboreal, s. in Amer. to N.S., N.Y., Ind., Minn., N.M., and Calif. (Alsine l.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Welsh et al. 1993, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial from slender rhizomes, forming small to large clumps or mats, flowering stems 3-30 cm long, villous to glabrous. Leaves: Opposite, sessile 4-26 mm long, 1-4 mm wide, lanceolate to lance-attenuate, sparingly villous, entire, smooth and shiny. Flowers: Open cyme with solitary to few flowers, with scarious margined bracts, sometimes ciliate, sepals 3-5 mm long, 3-veined, scarious margined, glabrous and not usually ciliate, 5 white petals 3-8 mm long. Fruits: Capsule 4-6 mm long, often purplish, opening by 6 teeth. Ecology: Found in moist soils of wet meadows and along stream banks from 7,000-9,500 ft (2134-2896 m); flowers May-July. Notes: This is a difficult complex overall, with many different regional varieties. If clarity beyond the species level is required a collection is advised. Some basic distinctions are the pubescence or its lack, presence or absence of scarious bracts, and the number of flowers. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Stellaria comes from Latin stella for star, while longipes means long-stalked. Synonyms: Many, see Tropicos Editor: SBuckley, 2010