Silene latifolia (White Campion)

Plant Info
Also known as: Bladder Campion, White Cockle
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:annual, short-lived perennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:shade, sun; disturbed soil, waste places, fields, edges of woods
Bloom season:May - September
Plant height:18 to 48 inches
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: 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: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[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.


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. Another species commonly called Bladder Campion is Silene vulgaris, which is mostly hairless overall with a smooth calyx 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.


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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Jerry - West St.Paul, Dodge Nature Center
on: 2014-07-02 15:51:26

Found growing along the trails.

Posted by: Starr - South Minneapolis
on: 2014-07-12 15:12:58

Popped up all over my yard this year too! Its very pretty so I'm letting it stay.

Posted by: Brett W - Otsego
on: 2014-08-11 18:49:05

Always see these along paths and not a fan of them, with all those seeds just sitting in that pod, how do they get so dispersed? Birds? I just cant see how it has spread so far.

Posted by: Greg - Camden State Park
on: 2015-10-05 22:22:37

Seen along trails in early October.

Posted by: Jill - Sauk Centre
on: 2016-09-07 19:10:41

Had one pop up in my mailbox flower garden this year and have never seen any around out area before

Posted by: Tim - Edina, Hennepin County
on: 2017-06-07 09:00:41

Just popped up in my yard this year. They have many nice flowers, but I'll need to remove. There are too many seeds per pod and plant.

Posted by: Nathan - East Bethel
on: 2017-07-16 10:11:42

Growing in my backyard right now; I was going to pull it, but now that I know it's a wildflower, I may just transplant it to a different section to run wild.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-07-16 12:49:33

Nathan, white campion is a non-native weed. There is enough of it running wild already.

Posted by: Bill - NW Pennington County
on: 2018-01-31 07:36:59

My Honey Bees, along with other native bees, work this flower for nectar, pollen and water. The water part is the morning dew before the sun or wind has time to evaporate the water caught on the petals.

Posted by: Brenda Pittman - West of Faribault in Rice County
on: 2018-06-12 19:32:22

Found a male plant growing beside the mail box. I'll pull it and transplant some native wildflowers from my butterfly garden.

Posted by: David G - Shoreview
on: 2018-06-14 13:13:49

There appears to be plenty in bloom now (early June) in Rice Creek North Trail area in Ramsey County (NW Shoreview).

Posted by: Dee - maple grove
on: 2018-07-28 17:07:38

I've read the seed pod holds thousands of seed and they shoot open spreading seeds far and wide. pull these out!

Posted by: Solimar - Brooklyn Park
on: 2020-06-22 10:07:25

Have seen it all along streambanks of Village Creek Pkwy. Private contractor was out pulling in mid-June.

Posted by: Helen - Saint Cloud, Sherburne County
on: 2023-05-30 22:16:02

Found growing near flower beds this year. We have been working with the soil last year & this year so, I am sure that made a nice resting spot for seeds to grow.

Posted by: cynthia - golden valley
on: 2023-06-10 16:10:14

2nd time i have seen them in my yard. a couple of plants. ripping them out.

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