Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Bladder Campion
Silene vulgaris
F. Carophyllareae
General Description:

A uniquely designed little wildflower, the bladder campion measures approximately 20-75 cm in height. As indicated by its name, this radially symmetrical flower has a balloon-like, deep pink or white calyx surrounded by ragged white petals. These flowers are arranged in sparse clusters atop an thin, dark-green stem out of which grow long, lanceolate-shaped leaves.

Silene vulgaris
Flowers:

The flowers of the bladder campion are quite small, measuring approximately 2.5 cm in width. Each radially symmetrical bloom has a deep pink or white, inflated calyx that is surrounded by five, white, double-lobed, ragged petals. There is distinct navel-like depression at the point where this calyx joins with the flower stalk. Each flower has three styles and ten stamens. Flowers are arranged in small clusters (generally 5-30 flowers) atop the terminal shoot.

Fruit:

The capsule-like fruit is round, many seeded, and grows within the inflated calyx, or “bladder”.

Leaves:

The leaves of this wildflower measure 4-10 cm. in length, and are hairless, thin and lanceolate-to-ovate in shape. They are arranged in an opposite fashion along the length of the stem.

Habitat:

The bladder campion grows best in fields or along roadsides.

Fun Facts:

The calyx, or "bladder", is actually a structure of fused, inflated sepals.

The bladder campion derived its name from settlers who likened the calyx shape to the bladders of livestock.

Silene vulgaris
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