Red campion Silene dioica, copyright Tony Atkin.

Belongs within: Caryophyllaceae.

Silene, the campions, is a large genus of herbs found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. Many species have sticky stems, giving rise to the alternative vernacular name of ‘catchfly’.

Characters (from Flora of North America): Herbs, annual, biennial, or perennial, often decumbent at base or sometimes cespitose. Taproots slender or often stout, deep, branched caudex often present, some species stoloniferous or rhizomatous. Stems simple or branched, terete or sometimes angular. Leaves opposite or occasionally whorled, connate proximally, petiolate (basal leaves) or sessile (most cauline leaves); blade 1-5-veined, linear to obovate or spatulate, herbaceous, apex acute to obtuse. Inflorescences terminal or sometimes axillary, simple or branched, sometimes condensed cymes, frequently flowers few or solitary, frequently glandular-pubescent and viscid; bracts paired, herbaceous or scarious, or absent; involucel bracteoles absent. Pedicels erect, rarely flowers sessile or subsessile. Flowers bisexual, sometimes unisexual (rarely so on separate plants); sepals connate proximally into tube, (4-)10-28(-40) mm; tube green, whitish, and/or purplish, 10-30-veined, cylindric to campanulate, urceolate, or clavate, terete, frequently inflated, membranous or more rarely herbaceous, commissures between sepals 1-veined, herbaceous; lobes green or purplish, 1-5-veined, broadly triangular to lance-oblong or linear, usually shorter than tube, margins whitish, scarious, apex acute to obtuse; petals 5, white, pink, scarlet, dusky purple, or off-white tinged with purple, clawed, claw usually conspicuous, sometimes small, rarely absent, auricles 2, coronal appendages 2, variously shaped or dissected; limb usually exserted and conspicuous, oblanceolate to obovate, apex 2-lobed, sometimes dissected into 1-4 linear lobes or irregular teeth, or fimbriate, rarely entire; nectaries at filament bases; stamens 10, rarely fewer or absent, frequently dimorphic with longer opposite petals, arising with petals from carpophore; filaments distinct nearly to base; staminodes absent (rarely to 10 in pistillate flowers, arising with petals from carpophore, filiform); ovary 1- or 3-5-locular; styles 3 or 5, occasionally 4 (absent in staminate flowers), filiform, 1.5-20 mm, glabrous proximally; stigmas 3 or 5, occasionally 4, linear along adaxial surface of styles, papillate (30×). Capsules ovoid to globose, opening along sutures into 3-5 valves, frequently splitting into 6-10 equal teeth; carpophore usually present. Seeds ca. (5-)15-100(-500+), reddish to gray or black, reniform to globose, usually tuberculate or papillate, papillae around margins sometimes larger and inflated, marginal wing sometimes present, appendage absent; embryo peripheral, curved. x = (10) 12.

    |--S. acaulisC55a
    |--S. alpestrisC55b
    |--S. antirrhinaH93
    |--S. apertaH93
    |--S. apetalaH90
    |--S. armeriaC55b
    |--S. behenPT98
    |--S. bernardina (see below for synonymy)H93
    |--S. bridgesiiH93
    |--S. bupleuroidesKB96
    |--S. caespitellaO88
    |--S. californicaH93
    |--S. campanulataH93
    |    |--S. c. ssp. campanulataH93
    |    `--S. c. ssp. glandulosa [incl. S. campanulata ssp. greenei]H93
    |--S. cobalticolaKB96
    |--S. compactaKB96
    |--S. conicaH91
    |--S. conoideaH93
    |--S. dichotomaH93
    |--S. dioicaKB96
    |--S. douglasii [incl. S. douglasii var. monantha]H93
    |--S. fabaria (Linnaeus) Smith 1809PL04
    |--S. fissicalyxO88
    |--S. gallicaGK00
    |    |--S. g. var. gallicaH90
    |    |--S. g. var. anglicaK90
    |    `--S. g. var. quinquevulneraH90
    |--S. giganteaPT98
    |--S. gonospermaO88
    |    |--S. g. ssp. gonospermaO88
    |    `--S. g. ssp. himalayensisO88
    |--S. grayiH93
    |--S. helleborifloraO88
    |--S. hookeri [incl. S. hookeri ssp. bolanderi, S. hookeri ssp. pulverulenta]H93
    |--S. indicaO88
    |    |--S. i. var. indicaO88
    |    `--S. i. var. bhutanicaO88
    |--S. inflataC55b
    |--S. invisaH93
    |--S. italicaH91
    |--S. jugorumO88
    |--S. kumaonensisO88
    |--S. laciniataH93
    |    |--S. l. ssp. laciniataH93
    |    `--S. l. ssp. major [incl. S. laciniata var. angustifolia, S. laciniata var. latifolia non S. latifolia]H93
    |--S. latifoliaH93
    |    |--S. l. ssp. latifoliaH93
    |    `--S. l. ssp. alba [=Lychnis alba]H93
    |--S. lemmoniiH93
    |--S. madensO88
    |--S. marmorensisH93
    |--S. menziesii [incl. S. menziesii ssp. dorrii, S. menziesii var. viscosa]H93
    |--S. moorcroftianaO88
    |--S. multinerviaH93
    |--S. nepalensisO88
    |--S. nicaeensisD17
    |--S. nigrescensO88
    |--S. noctifloraC55b
    |--S. nocturnaPT98
    |--S. nuda [incl. S. nuda ssp. insectivora]H93
    |--S. nutansC06
    |--S. occidentalisH93
    |    |--S. o. ssp. occidentalisH93
    |    `--S. o. ssp. longistipitataH93
    |--S. oreganaH93
    |--S. otitesKB96
    |--S. parishii (see below for synonymy)H93
    |--S. pentelica Boissier 1849PL04
    |--S. pratensis [incl. S. alba]H90
    |--S. pumilioC55a
    |--S. pusillaPS98
    |--S. sargentiiH93
    |--S. scouleriH93
    |    |--S. s. ssp. scouleriH93
    |    `--S. s. ssp. grandisH93
    |--S. sedoidesPT98
    |--S. setispermaO88
    |--S. stenocalycina Rech. 1957PL04
    |--S. suksdorfiiH93
    |--S. thomsoniiO88
    |--S. vallesiaC55a
    |--S. vautieraeO88
    |--S. verecundaH93
    |    |--S. v. ssp. verecundaH93
    |    |--S. v. ssp. andersoniiH93
    |    `--S. v. ssp. platyotaH93
    |--S. villosaD17
    |--S. viridifloraH91
    |--S. vulgaris [incl. S. cucubalus]H93
    |    |--S. v. ssp. vulgarisPT98
    |    |--S. v. ssp. macrocarpaPT98
    |    `--S. v. ssp. maritimaH90
    `--S. waltoniiO88

Silene bernardina [=S. montana ssp. bernardina; incl. S. montana ssp. maguirei, S. montana var. rigidula, S. montana var. sierrae]H93

Silene parishii [incl. S. parishii var. latifolia nec S. latifolia nec S. laciniata var. latifolia, S. parishii var. viscida]H93

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C55a] Candolle, A. de. 1855a. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 1. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[C55b] Candolle, A. de. 1855b. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[C06] Cheeseman, T. F. 1906. Manual of the New Zealand Flora. John Mackay, Government Printer: Wellington.

[D17] Diels, L. 1917. Beiträge zur Flora der Zentral-Sahara und ihrer Pflanzengeographie. Nach der Sammelausbeute des Freiherrn Hans Geyr von Schweppenburg. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 54 (Beiblatt 120): 51–155.

[GK00] Gibson, N., & G. J. Keighery. 2000. Flora and vegetation of the Byenup-Muir reserve system, south-west Western Australia. CALMScience 3 (3): 323–402.

[H90] Harden, G. J. (ed.) 1990. Flora of New South Wales vol. 1. New South Wales University Press.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[H91] Hubálek, Z. 1991. Biogeographic indication of natural foci of tick-borne infections. In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 1 pp. 255–260. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[K90] Keighery, G. J. 1990. Vegetation and flora of Shark Bay, Western Australia. In: Berry, P. F., S. D. Bradshaw & B. R. Wilson (eds) Research in Shark Bay: Report of the France-Australe Bicentenary Expedition Committee pp. 61–87. Western Australian Museum.

[KB96] Konstantinou, M., & D. Babalonas. 1996. Metal uptake by Caryophyllaceae species from metalliferous soils in northern Greece. Plant Systematics and Evolution 203: 1–10.

[O88] Ohba, H. 1988. The alpine flora of the Nepal Himalayas: an introductory note. In: Ohba, H., & S. B. Malla (eds) The Himalayan Plants vol. 1. The University Museum, University of Tokyo, Bulletin 31: 19–46.

[PT98] Panitsa, M., & D. Tzanoudakis. 1998. Contribution to the study of the Greek flora: flora and vegetation of the E Aegean islands Agathonisi and Pharmakonisi. Willdenowia 28: 95–116.

[PL04] Pohl, G., & I. Lenski. 2004. Zur Verbreitung und Vergesellschaftung von Pennisetum orientale Rich. in Nordeuböa (Griechenland) (Poaceae, Paniceae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 83 (2): 209–223.

[PS98] Prosser, F., & S. Scortegagna. 1998. Primula recubariensis, a new species of Primula sect. Auricula Duby endemic to the SE Prealps, Italy. Willdenowia 28: 27–46.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *