### VARIATION OF SEPAL TRAITS IN STELLARIA PUBERA

*Stellaria corei* was originally described by Thomas Nuttall as a subspecies of *Stellaria pubera* because the two are so alike. However, it is apparent that the condition of sepal length and the condition of degree of pubescence of the abaxial/lower sepal surface are independent of one another, that is to say that these two traits occur in various combinations amongst individuals of *Stellaria pubera*, and the combination of long sepals that are also glabrous/bald on the lower surface is a matter of happenstance.

Below are iNaturalist observations of Stellaria pubera

1) Pubescent and Short Sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75730401 pubescent short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75581210 pubescent short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75501455 pubescent short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75367119 pubescent short sepals

2) Glabrous and Short Sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75620153 glabrous short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75432600 glabrous short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75309895 glabrous short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75367619 glabrous short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75823835 glabrous short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/77168514 glabrous short sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/77386917 glabrous short sepals

3) Pubescent and Long Sepals (nearly-as-long-as or longer than the flower petals)

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75264055 pubescent very long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75371414 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75369222 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75365581 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75609793 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75603724 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/76389550 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/76261689 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/77204533 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/77304357 pubescent long sepals

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/77392727 pubescent long sepals

These observations suggest that the combined occurrence of glabrous and long sepals is merely a matter of happenstance.

Present taxonomy would place a *Stellaria pubera* with:

(1) sepals as-long-as or longer than the petals; and

(2) sepals whose underside/abaxial surface is smooth/bald/glabrous

as *Stellaria corei*, originally described as a subspecies of *Stellaria pubera*.

However, it is apparent that the trait of sepal length is independent of the trait of sepal abaxial surface pubescence, that is to say, individuals of Stellaria pubera can have:

1) long pubescent sepals

2) long glabrous sepals

3) short pubescent sepals

4) short glabrous sepals

If plants with long glabrous sepals deserve subspecies or species status, it follows that the other three also deserve subspecies or species status - or that none of them do.