Silene acaulis – Moss Campion – Campion – Catchfly –


Silene – Campion – Catchfly

There are over 500 annuals, biennials, and deciduous or evergreen perennials, some sub-shrubby in the Caryophyllales family, in this genus. They naturally occur in widely distributed habitats ranging from open woodland to meadows and mountain screes in the Northern Hemisphere, mostly in the Mediterranean region, but some extend to the Moutains of tropical Africa and South America. The variable leaves are opposite, often silky, elliptical, and smooth edged. The flowers have 5 often notched or split, clawed petals and a tubular, often conspicuously in flated calyx, they are borne singly or in sprays, clusters, broad or narrow panicle like cymes, or corymb like panicles. Some species open their flowers only at night. Some species exude gum from their stems, passing flies get stuck to this, hence the common name “catchfly”. Most Silenes are easily grown, and often self seed freely. Smaller perennials suit a rock garden, and taller ones for the front of a wild garden. Use annauls as bedding in a mixed or annual borders. Some Silenes resent winter moisture and are best grown in a scree bed.

Grow in moderately fertile, well drained, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun or light, dappled shade.

Prone to slugs, snails, whiteflies, spider mites, aphids, rust, smut, stem and leaf fungi occur.

S. acaulis – Moss Campion – This dwarf, mat forming evergreen perennial from the arctic mountains of Eurasia and North America grows 2″ tall and 8″ wide. It produces tiny, linear, bright green leaves, up to ½” long. In summer, it bears solitary, almost stemless, deep pink, sometimes white flowers, to ½” across, with smooth edged or notched petals. Suitable for a scree bed, but rarely bears abundant flowers in cultivation.

Zones 3-5