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White Campion
Caryophyllaceae
Silene pratensis


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb


Caryophyllaceae Family

Silene Genus
Other Names for this Plant

bull rattle, evening lychnis, snake cuckoo, thunder flower, white cockle, white robin, Evening Campion


Location

Native to Europe. Widespread in the northern half of the U.S. and southern Canada. It is commonly found in grain, legume, and vegetable crops, as well as in other disturbed sites, including field edges, roadsides, shorelines, wood edges, and waste areas.

Physical Description
This introduced dioecious plant is an annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial about 2' tall, branching occasionally and more or less erect. The light green stems are round and covered with fine hairs. The opposite leaves are up to 4" long and 2" across. They are light green, ovate-lanceolate, more or less sessile, smooth along the margins, and finely pubescent. The upper stems terminate in small clusters of 1-3 white night-blooming flowers. Each flower is about ¾1" across when fully open, consisting of 5 white petals that are partially cleft, and a fuzzy green calyx about ¾" long that has several green or purple veins spanning its length. At the base of each petal, there is a pair of short thick claws. Each male flower has 10 white stamens and a cylindrical-ovoid calyx with 10 major veins. Each female flower has 5 white styles and an ovoid calyx with about 20 major veins. The calyx of the female flowers has a more inflated appearance than the calyx of the male flowers. Sometimes female flowers have 4 or 6 styles. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 1-2 months. The flowers bloom intermittently at night, rather than simultaneously; they are fragrant. On female plants, each flower is replaced by an ovoid seed capsule up to 1" long that is open at the top. Along its upper rim, there are 5 small teeth that are deeply cleft they have the appearance of 5 pairs of teeth. These cleft teeth are either erect or spreading, rather than sharply recurved. Each seed capsule contains numerous grayish brown seeds that are reniform with a pebbly-granular surface. The root system consists of a fleshy branching taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.


Compare Species
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Caryophyllaceae
Caryophyllales
Caryophyllales
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Members of the genus Silene were used in Elizabethan England to make a concoction with sugar and wine. This mixture was supposed to be soothing to the heart. The roots were used as worm medicine.

Cultivation: Full or partial sun, mesic conditions, and a fertile loamy soil are preferred. This plant develops quickly from seed and can become 3' tall in fertile soil, although it is usually smaller

Propagation: By seed

Other Notes: The root is used as a soap substitute for washing clothes etc. The soap is obtained by simmering the root in hot water.



White Campion




White Campion




White Campion


Comment: White Campion, Silene pratensis

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