starry campion

(Silene stellata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

starry campion

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Disturbed sites

Flowering

May to August

     
Flower Color

Bright white

     
Height

12 to 32

     

Identification

This is a 12 to 32 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on several stems from a deep, thick taproot.

The stems are erect, unbranched, swollen at the nodes, and densely covered with short hairs.

The stem leaves near the base and those just below the inflorescence are in opposite pairs. Middle stem leaves are in whorls of 4. They are lance-shaped to egg-shaped, 1 to 4 long, from a little more than to 1½ wide, largest in the middle of the plants. They taper gradually to a pointed tip with concave sides along the tip. They are attached to the stem without a leaf stalk. The upper surface is sparsely hairy, the lower surface is hairy. The margins are untoothed.

At the end of the stem is a pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. The stem and branches of the inflorescence are hairless. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

The sepals are fused at the base into a tube (calyx) terminating in 5 short lobes. The calyx is ¼ to almost ½ long and wide, and is not contracted at the mouth or the base. It is pale green and broadly bell-shaped. It has 10 obscure, equal veins.

Flowers are about ¾ wide when fully open, and are on stalks that are ½ to 3 times as long as the calyx. The calyx and flower stalk may be either hairless and smooth or densely covered with short hairs and rough to the touch (see comment below).

The 5 petals are bright white, frilly, widely spreading, about two times longer than the calyx, with a stalk-like narrow base (claw). They are divided along the upper half of their length into 4 to 12 long narrow lobes. The 10 stamens are as long as the petals. The 3 styles are longer than the petals. The flowers are not fragrant. They open in the evening and close up again in bright sunlight.

The fruit is a green, hairless, egg-shaped, 3-chambered capsule the same size as the calyx, with 6 teeth at the top.

 
Similar
Species

This plant is easily recognized by its fringed petals and whorled leaves.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Caryophyllaceae (pink)

 

Subfamily:

Caryophylloideae

 

Tribe:

Sileneae

 
Synonyms

Silene stellata var. scabrella

Silene stellata var. stellata

 
Common
Names

starry campion

whorled catchfly

widowsfrill

widow’s frill

widow’s-frill


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Calyx

The flower cup. May be the group of outer floral leaves (sepals) collectively, or a tube with lobes.

 

Claw

A stalk-like narrowed base of some petals and sepals.

       

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Inflorescence

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Middle Stem Leaves

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Stem Leaves Below Inflorescence

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