Silene latifolia

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Silene latifolia
Silene latifolia 9646.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Silene
Species: S. latifolia
Binomial name
Silene latifolia
Poir.
Synonyms[1]
  • Lychnis × loveae B. Boivin
  • Lychnis alba Mill.
  • Lychnis divaricata Rchb.
  • Lychnis macrocarpa Boiss. & Reut.
  • Lychnis pratensis Raf.
  • Lychnis vespertina Sibth.
  • Melandrium album (Mill.) Garcke
  • Melandrium boissieri Schischk.
  • Melandrium dioicum subsp. album (Mill.) D. Löve
  • Melandrium eriocalycinum Boiss.
  • Melandrium latifolium (Poir.) Maire
  • Melandrium marizianum Gand.
  • Silene alba (Mill.) E.H.L.Krause
  • Silene dioica A. DC.
  • Silene macrocarpa (Boiss. & Reut.) E.H.L.Krause
  • Silene pratensis Godr.

Silene latifolia (formerly Melandrium album), or White Campion, is a dioecious flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae, native to most of Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is a herbaceous annual, occasionally biennial or a short-lived perennial plant, growing to between 40-80 centimetres tall.

Each petal is deeply notched (Wenas Wildlife Area).
Silene latifolia - MHNT

The appearance depends on the age of the plant; when young they form a basal rosette of oval to lanceolate leaves 4-10 cm long, and when they get older, forked stems grow from these, with leaves in opposite pairs. The flowers grow in clusters at the tops of the stems, 2.5-3 cm diameter, with a distinctive inflated calyx and five white petals, each petal deeply notched; flowering lasts from late spring to early autumn. The entire plant is densely hairy. Occasional plants with pink flowers are usually hybrids with Red Campion (S. dioica).

Habitat and occurrence[edit]

White campion grows in most open habitats, particularly wasteland and fields, most commonly on neutral to alkaline soils. Despite the wide array of conditions in which campion can thrive, it prefers sunny areas that have rich and well-drained soil.[2] An example ecoregion of occurrence is in the Sarmatic mixed forests.[3]

It is also named the Grave Flower or Flower of the Dead in parts of England as they are seen often growing on gravesites and around tombstones.

It is naturalised in North America, being found in most of the United States, the greatest concentrations of the plant can be found in the north-central and northeastern sections of the country.[4] S. latifolia is thought to have arrived in North America as a component of ship ballast.

References and external links[edit]