Fall Wildflowers of New England
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White Campion
Silene latifolia
F. Carophyllareae
Silene latifolia
General Description:

A uniquely designed little wildflower, the white campion measures approximately 30-90 cm in height. This radially symmetrical flower has a balloon-like, white or green-veined calyx surrounded by white or light pink petals. These flowers grow singularly along green stem out of which grow long, lanceolate-shaped leaves.

Flowers:

The flowers of the white campion are quite small, measuring approximately 2.5 cm in width. Each radially symmetrical bloom has a white or green-veined, inflated calyx that is surrounded by five, white or pink, deeply notched petals. The male flowers of this species have a less-inflated, ten-veined calyx and ten stamens. The female flowers have three styles and exhibit a largely inflated, 20-vined calyx. Flowers are singularly along the length of the stem.

Fruit:

The capsule-like fruit is vase-shaped, many seeded, and grows within the largely inflated calyx of the female flower.

Leaves:

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

Habitat:

The white campion grows best in fields, along roadsides, or around waste areas.

Fun Facts:

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

The white campion species has a European origin and, as indicated above, is not a perfect flower. The female and male flowers bloom at night and are pollinated by moths.

Other names attributed to this flower include evening lychnis and white cockle.

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