Silene latifolia (White Campion)

Plant Info
Also known as: Bladder Campion, White Cockle
Genus:Silene
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:annual, short-lived perennial
Origin:Europe
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:shade, sun; disturbed soil, waste places, fields, edges of woods
Bloom season:May - September
Plant height:18 to 48 inches
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of female flower] Raceme or open branched cluster of 1 to 1½ inch stalked white flowers. Flowers have 5 petals each deeply cleft into 2 broad lobes with a prominent fringe at the base of the petal forming a collar at the opening of the floral tube. Male and female flowers are on separate plants. Female flowers have 5 styles that elongate and curl out over the collar.

[photo of male flower] Male flowers have 10 pale yellow stamens that extend to or a little past the opening of the floral tube. The calyx behind the flower is densely hairy, inflated, larger and more urn shaped on female flowers, strongly veined and ridged, 10-veined on males and 20 on females, green or often deep maroon, especially on males. Flowers are odorous, open in the evening and close by noon, sometimes later on cloudy days.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are 1¼ to 4 inches long,  1/3 to 1½ inches wide, lance-shaped to broadly elliptic, toothless, with short stalks on lower leaves becoming smaller and stalkless higher on the stem. Stems and leaves are hairy becoming glandular and sticky in the upper plant.

Fruit:

[photo of fruit] Fruit is an urn shaped capsule, about ½ inch long, turned up, the opening ringed with 10 upturned or spreading teeth, tan colored eventually turning dark brown. The capsule is covered in a brown papery wrapping that dries up and falls away when the capsule opens.

[photo of seed] Inside the capsule are numerous black seeds just over 1 millimeter long, somewhat kidney shaped and covered in a pattern of tiny pimples. A single female plant is capable of producing up to 24,000 seeds.

Notes:

A widely distributed weedy species from Europe, White Campion is common in waste places and disturbed sites in both urban and rural areas. A very similar species is Night-flowering Campion (Silene noctiflora), which has slightly smaller perfect flowers (both male and female parts on the same flower) with only 3 styles, narrower petal lobes, and only 6 teeth on the opened capsule. Bladder Campion is also a common name for Silene vulgaris, which is hairless overall and has long protruding stamens with purplish tips.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Kay in Hennipin County
on: 2012-05-29 16:08:42

White Campion is blooming all around the roadsides here in late May.

Posted by: Brie in north minneapolis
on: 2012-05-29 22:52:07

This popped up all over my yard and garden this year.

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