White Campion
Silene latifolia Poir.
Family: Caryophyllaceae, Pink
Genus: Silene
Synonyms: Silene alba, Lychnis alba
Other names: bladder campion
Nomenclature: latifolia = broad-leaved
Nativity / Invasiveness: introduced plant
No edibility data
No medicinal data

General: stout, 3-11 dm tall, with male and female flowers on separate plants. Growth habit: perennial, usually with a branched crown. Stems: several, simple, erect, stiff-hairy below and becoming glandular higher up among the flowers.

Leaves: the basal ones lance-shaped, up to 10 cm long and 2 cm broad, hairy, slenderly to broadly stalked. Stem leaves opposite, in 6-9 pairs, the lower ones often larger than the basal, slightly reduced and stalkless above.

Flowers: rather showy, several in open, spreading clusters with leafy bracts. Calyx 15-20 mm long, that of the male flowers 10-nerved, that of the female 20-nerved and becoming much inflated in fruit, the narrow lobes not twisted. Corolla white, the blade 7-10 mm long, narrowly obovate, notched to about midlength. Appendages about 1 mm long, triangular, with irregular edges. Styles 5. June-August.

Fruits: capsules, 1-celled, ovoid-cylindric, opening by 5 2-cleft valves that are spreading but not reflexed. Seeds about 1.5 mm long, dark bluish-brown, prominently with warty bumps in concentric rows, the base of the bumps finely bordered with small teeth.


Various, mostly drier, wooded or disturbed, habitats, in s. and w. parts of MT. A European plant now widely distributed in N. America.
Other Uses

The root of white campion has been used as a soap substitute for washing clothes etc. The soap is obtained by simmering the root in hot water.

Sub taxa:

Our specimen belong to ssp. alba (P. Mill.) Greuter & Burdet.

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