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White Campion, White Cockle, Evening Lychnis - Silene latifolia


Family: Caryophyllaceae - Pink family Genus Common Name: Catchfly Native Status: IntroducedDicot Biennial Perennial Herb
Silene latifolia - White Campion, White Cockle, Evening Lychnis. Silene latifolia is part of the large Silene genus, which has about 700 species worldwide; 70 in North America. These numbers include plants that were previously classified in the genera Lychnis, Melandrium, and Viscaria. S. latifolia, White Campion, was Classified as Lychnis alba until fairly recently, and has also been classified as a Melandrium species in the past.

White Campion, which blooms in the summer and fall, was introduced into North America from its native Europe, and has spread across most of the United States except for a few southern states, and across Canada except for a few northern provinces since then. It is similar to Silene vulgaris - Bladder Campion - and some publications have apparently mistakenly applied the name Silene latifolia or Silene latifolia var. alba to Silene vulgaris.

Found in:
AL, AZ, AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
Silene latifolia

Distribution of Silene latifolia in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 23 Aug 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Silene latifolia has 5 white petals (sometimes pinkish, particularly in some hybrids). More striking are the calyces, which have pink or green veins.
Silene latifolia

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The staminate flowers have 10 veins; the pistillate 20. The calyx is tubular, becoming significantly ovate in the pistillate plants.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Silene latifolia

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Silene latifolia has 5 petals, each of which is usually notched at the tip. The plant is dioecious - male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers are on different plants. The staminate flowers have 10 stamens; the pistillate plants have 4 or sometimes 5 pistils. Both stamens and pistils are slightly longer than the calyx, and thus are usually slightly exserted.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Silene latifolia

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Almost the entire plant is hairy.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Silene latifolia

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
White Campion grows from 1 to 3 feet tall. This appears to be a pistillate plant, since the calyces are notably more ovate than those on the other photos on this page. As far as Iíve been able to determine, pink or green veins are not indicative as to whether the plant is staminate or pistillate.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Silene latifolia

References used for identification and information:

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer