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White Campion Silene latifolia (Lychnis alba)


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White Campion
credit: 4028mdk09/CCSA

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Alternate name: Bladder Campion

Family: Caryophyllaceae, Carnation view all from this family

Description The fragrant flowers grow in clusters at the tops of the stems, with a distinctive inflated calyx.
Habit: introduced annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial herb.
Height: 1-4.5 ft (0.3-1.35 m); jointed stems, spreading or erect, hairy below, sticky above.
Leaf: in basal rosette, hairy, ovate to lanceolate, 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long; on stem, opposite, to 10 pairs, becoming smaller above.
Flower: white to pink, to 1 in (25 mm) wide; on bulbous calyx to 0.75 in (18 mm) long; deeply notched, overlapping petals, with small raised ring at center,; opening late in the day, closing by noon next day.
Fruit: capsule, vase-shaped.

Flower June to October.

Habitat Rich, well-drained soil: grasslands, arable land, gardens, pastures, embankments, roadsides, waste land, disturbed areas; a weed of grain fields and turf; to 9200 ft (2800 m).

Range Native to Europe; introduced in colonial times as an ornamental; escaped from cultivation and naturalized throughout North America, except for far northern Canada, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona.

Discussion Also known as bladder campion, white cockle, evening lychnis, wide-leaved bladder catchfly, maiden's tears. Several subspecies are proposed. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas; listed as noxious in Washington. Occasional plants with pink flowers are usually hybrids with the rare red campion (Silene dioica).