Silene vulgaris or Bladder Campion. Eye-catching weed flowers I found at Commissioners Track, Roxburgh, Central Otago. First 3 photos taken 04 December, last photo taken 27 December. New Zealand.

Etymology :Silene, the genus name, is a reference to the Greek woodland god Silenus the foster father of Bacchus, who was often depicted covered in a sticky foam and whose name in turn comes from the Greek word for saliva. (The female flowers of Red Campion Silene dioica secrete a frothy foam that captures pollen from insects that come to the flowers to gather nectar.) The specific epithet vulgaris means common and is more appropriate to southern Europe than it is in Britain.” ~quoted from a good web page I found – First Nature if you want more Silene info.

The day I identified this plant, I walked outside and actually found we had the Red Campion (Silene dioica) growing in one spot near the boundary of our own property. I’d had no idea so it was a big surprise!

While ‘my’ Silene’s a commoner, Linda Leinen (Texas) posted about a different species – her flower reigns supreme!

Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2022)

7 thoughts on “Silene

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  1. This is a wonderful example of how species in a genus can differ from one another — sometimes quite dramatically. In fact, sometimes the differences are so striking I find myself wondering exactly what it is that landed the plants in the same genus. On the other hand, while the shapes of this flower and the one I showed are rather different, they do seem to share the slight stickiness that gives them the popular name ‘catchfly.’ I appreciate the mention — I really am eager to search them out again this year!

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    1. Your ‘catchfly’ is such a beauty Linda! I really don’t think I could see too many so I wish you success in catching more catchfly. Hoping too that 2023 will be a good year for you!

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  2. A number of years back my dad (who died in 2020) read that the endangered Monarch Butterfly, which migrates between Mexico and Canada, likes bladder campions. He dug up a batch from a field and planted them near the house. They multiplied and so did the Monarchs.

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