starry campion

(Silene stellata)

Conservation Status
starry campion
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Starry campion 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.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

12 to 32

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Bright white

 
     
 

Similar Species

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

Disturbed sites

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to August

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  1/12/2012      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  
 

Order

Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  
 

Family

Caryophyllaceae (pink)  
  Subfamily Caryophylloideae  
  Tribe Sileneae  
 

Genus

Silene (catchfly)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

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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Plant

  starry campion    
       

Inflorescence

  starry campion   starry campion
       

Flowers

  starry campion   starry campion
       

Middle Stem Leaves

  starry campion    
       

Stem Leaves Below Inflorescence

  starry campion    
       
       

 

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