Silene viscaria

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Silene viscaria
Lychnis viscaria1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Silene
Species: S. viscaria
Binomial name
Silene viscaria

Lychnis viscaria

Silene viscaria, the sticky catchfly, is a flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae.

It is an upright perennial, growing to 60 cm in height. It gets its English name from the stickiness of its stem. It grows on cliffs and in rocky places. It has a purple flower.

Seed, background lines are 5 mm (0.20 in) apart
Whorl of seed capsules, background lines are 5mm apart
Seed capsule, viewed from side
Seed capsule, viewed end on

Stace[1] and Fitter[2] describe this plant as having the following characteristics:

  • Erect perennial to 60 cm (24 in) high
  • Not hairy or only slightly hairy
  • Sticky just below each leaf junction
  • Leaves lanceolate
  • Flowers 20 mm (0.79 in) across; bright rosy red; petals notched; apparently whorled in long spikes; May-August

Lychnis viscaria is said to increase the disease resistance of surrounding plants. Extract from L. viscaria contains a relatively high amount of brassinosteroids, which have a proven positive effect on the growth of other plants. In Germany the extract is allowed for use as a "plant strengthening substance".

See also[edit]

BBC Rare catchfly cultivated in Whitehill Bordon verges


  1. ^ New Flora of the British Isles; Clive Stace; Third edition; 2011 printing
  2. ^ The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe; Fitter, Fitter, Blamey; Collins; 3rd edition 1978