Lychnis chalcedonica

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Lychnis chalcedonica
Silene chalcedonica.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Lychnis
Species: L. chalcedonica
Binomial name
Lychnis chalcedonica
L.

Lychnis chalcedonica (Burning Love, Dusky Salmon, Flower of Bristol, Jerusalem Cross, Maltese Cross, Nonesuch; syn. Silene chalcedonica) is a species of flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae, native to central and eastern Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northwestern China.

Description[edit]

Growing 35–100 cm (14–39 in) tall with unbranched stems, it is an herbaceous perennial. The leaves are produced in opposite pairs, simple broad lanceolate, 2–12 cm (1–5 in) long and 1-5 cm broad. The flowers are produced in clusters of 10-50 together; each flower is bright red, 1-3 cm in diameter, with a deeply five-lobed corolla, each lobe being further split into two smaller lobes. This forms a general shape similar to that of the Maltese cross to which it owes one of its common names. The fruit is a dry capsule containing numerous seeds.

Names[edit]

The specific epithet chalcedonica refers to the ancient town of Chalcedon in what is now Turkey.[1]

Numerous common names are attached to this plant, including:-

  • Burning love
  • Common rose campion
  • Constantinople campion
  • Dusky salmon
  • Fireball
  • Flower of Bristol[2]
  • Flower of Constantinople      
  • Gardener's delight      
  • Gardener's eye
  • Great candlestick
  • Jerusalem cross
  • Knight's cross
  • Maltese cross
  • Meadow campion
  • Nonesuch
  • Red robin
  • Scarlet lightning
  • Scarlet lychnis
  • Tears of Christ

L. chalcedonica was voted the county flower of Bristol in a 2002 following a poll by the wild flora conservation charity Plantlife.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Lychnis chalcedonica is a popular ornamental plant in gardens. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[3] Numerous cultivars have been selected, varying in flower colour from bright red to orange-red, pink or white. It grows best in partial to full sun and in any good well-drained soil, if provided with a constant moisture supply. The flowering period is extended if faded flowers are removed. It is short-lived in poorly drained soil. Double flowered cultivars are propagated by division.

The species can become naturalised or even invasive if plants are allowed to set seed; it is naturalised in some parts of North America. Thomas Jefferson is known to have sowed this plant at Monticello in 1807.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315. 
  2. ^ "The Nonesuch: Remarkable Flower of Bristol". [dead link]
  3. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Lychnis chalcedonica". Retrieved 22 May 2013.