Silene csereii (Balkan Catchfly)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Silene
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:biennial, short-lived perennial
Origin:Europe
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry; fields, along roads, waste areas
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:to 40 inches tall
Wetland Indicator Status:none
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: raceme

[photo of flowers] Long branching racemes of nodding flowers at the top of the plant and arising from upper leaf axils. Flowers have 5 white petals that are deeply divided into 2 lobes; petals are tightly curled up before spreading out. Long, purple tinged stamens extend out of the throat. The calyx is light green to pinkish, smooth with about 20 faint parallel veins from the base and 5 triangular lobes at the tip. Flowers are about ¾ inch long from the base of the calyx to the tip of the stamens.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] A few basal leaves wither away by flowering time. Stem leaves are up to 4 inches long, 1½ inches wide, toothless, hairless, generally egg-shaped with a pointed tip, no stalk, and clasp the stem. Leaf color is light green to slightly blue-green. Attachment is opposite with pairs at right angles to the pair above and below. Stems are smooth, often with a waxy bloom, and typically unbranched except in the flowers.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a teardrop shaped capsule about as long as the calyx. When ripe, it splits open at the top with the 6 teeth flaring out. Inside are grayish-brown, kidney-shaped seeds.

Notes:

Distinguishing features of Balkan Catchfly are the smooth calyx, clasping egg-shaped leaves and waxy bloom on the stem. A similar species is Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), which has narrow leaves, distinct venation on its more inflated calyx, and is a shorter, more heavily branched plant. When not flowering, the leaves may be easily mistaken for Dalmation Toadflax (Linaria dalmatica), a more aggressive invasive species which has alternate leaves, where Balkan Catchfly has opposite leaves.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Chisago, Dakota and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties.

Comments

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

Posted by: Jim - LeSueur County, Lake Washington
on: 2010-06-11 17:50:52

I am positive this is what we have. First year I have noticed this plant on our bluff area of lakeshore.

Posted by: JB - Randall, Morrison County
on: 2010-07-09 15:35:44

We have this plant, first year I've seen it, along our driveway. One good clump and a couple tiny plants also.

Posted by: Karin - Coldwater Springs, Minneapolis
on: 2011-06-20 11:03:28

Found along the crumbling asphalt of the old bureau of mines campus in Minneapolis near Fort Snelling.

Posted by: Mandy - Becker County, Detroit Lakes
on: 2012-07-16 22:58:29

First year I noticed this plant growing along gravel roadsides.

Posted by: Jason - Nicollet County
on: 2013-07-28 22:18:18

North Star WMA

Posted by: Molly - Otter Tail County
on: 2014-07-28 13:29:35

at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, June 2014 and earlier

Posted by: Keith - Pope County South of Sedan, MN
on: 2014-08-11 10:36:45

I photographed this plant/weed growing along a gravel road adjacent to a wetland near Sedan, MN in Pope County. It did remind me of a miniature version of White Campion which grows almost everywhere.

Posted by: Carole Gernes, Ramsey Co. CWMA - Fish Creek Preserve, Maplewood
on: 2014-12-04 14:16:54

This was discovered during the Fish Creek Invasive Plant Blitz May 22, 2014. It was not blooming and a volunteer thought it might be Dalmatian toadflax, a MN Noxious Weed on the eradicate list. The non-flowering plants look similar, however, this plant has opposite leaves. Dalmatian toadflax has alternate leaves. Balkan catchfly is now included in the "Look-alike" section of the MNDOT MN Noxious Weed Booklet.

Posted by: traci - Rural Duluth, Grand Lake Township
on: 2016-06-11 13:15:30

I have never seen this plant before in my over 40 years living and gardening in southern St. Louis County.

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