Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

The Caryophyllaceae include all the cultivated carnations, pinks, Sweet William and Baby's-Breath we are so familiar with from the garden and flower shop. The family is large and wide-ranging, and many of its members have turned up as invasive alien problems in rural areas near towns.

It is also a family of attractive and hardy native wildflowers, including the Indian Pink, the Catchflies and Sand--spurreys. On Montara Mountain, Caryophyllaceae members include Cerastium arvense (Field Chckweed) and Spergularia macrotheca (Perennial Sand-spurrey).



 Cerastium arvense:
Field Chickweed

Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Flowers: White, 5 broad petals sharply notched, one-half inch across; fragrant. Sepals shorter than petals.

Blooms: March - May.

Leaves: Light green, 1 -2 inches long, in pairs along stems.

Fruit/Seeds: ??

Location: Grassy trails and rocky sections in all areas.

Status: Native - Common.

Cerastium arvense
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 Further description & Comment: 4 - 12 inches tall. No hairs or stickiness on stems and leaves, which along with the shorter sepals distinquish it from it's invasive alien relatives, Cerastium vulgatum (Large Mouse Ear) and Cerastium viscosum (Sticky Mouse Ear).



 Spergularia macrotheca
Perennial (Sticky) Sand-spurrey

Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Flowers: 5 distinct separate petals, pink, small. Obvious, pointed bracts. Yellow sepals and pistil.

Blooms: All year round.

Leaves: Dark green, fleshy, linear leaves covered with numerous long gray glandular hairs.

Fruit/Seeds: Small, black, in hair-covered pods below blooms.

Location: Sandy blufftops and cliffs above ocean.

Status: Native - Common.

Further description & Comment: Sprawling stems, 4 - 20 inches.

Spergularia macrotheca

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Image below shows that the stems and sepals are also covered with gray hairs. This plant colony was found on Gray Whale Cove promontory, west of Highway 1. Image below includes a 52mm lens cap (approx. 2" in diameter) for size comparison.

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