Fire pink (Silene virginica) is a wildflower in the pink family, Caryophyllaceae. It is known for its distinct brilliant red flowers. Each flower is approximately five centimeters in diameter and composed of five notched, brilliant red petals which extend into a long tube. It is a small (20-80 cm tall), short-lived perennial (2-3 years), with lance shaped leaves. Its stems, and the bases of the flowers, are covered in short sticky hairs. Fire pink begins blooming in late spring and continuing throughout the summer. It is sometimes grown in wildflower, shade, and rock gardens.
Fire pink grows in open woods and rocky deciduous slopes in eastern North America, ranging as far north as extreme southern Ontario. It is protected as a state endangered species in Wisconsin and Florida, and as a state threatened species in Michigan.
There are two recognized varieties of fire pink. Most plants of this species are classified as Silene virginica var. virginica, however an endemic variety occurs in West Virginia called Silene virginica var. robusta.
- Flora of North America: Silene virginica
- Missouri Botanical Garden Center for Home Gardening: Silene virginica
- Fenster et al. 2006. Nectar reward and advertisement in hummingbird-pollinated Silene virginica (Caryophyllaceae). American Journal of Botany. 2006;93:1800-1807.
- USDA PLANTS Database: Silene virginica