Facts about Red Campion

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Red campion Quick Facts
Name: Red campion
Scientific Name: Silene dioica
Origin Throughout central, western and northern Europe, and locally in southern Europe
Shapes Broadly ovoid to globose capsule 10–15 mm long containing numerous seeds
Silene dioica (syn. Melandrium rubrum), commonly known as red campion and red catchfly is a herbaceous flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae. The plant is native throughout central, western and northern Europe, and locally in southern Europe. It has been introduced in Iceland, Canada, the US, and Argentina. Some of the well-known common names of the plant are Morning campion, Red campion, Red catchfly, Red cockle, rough robin, Lord, God of Blood, Red Night Elke, Red Forest Elke and Taglicht Elke.

Silene, the genus name, is a reference to the Greek woodland god Silenus the foster father of Bacchus, who was often depicted covered in a sticky foam and whose name in turn comes from the Greek word for saliva; the female flowers of Red Campion secrete a frothy foam that captures pollen from insects that come to the flowers to gather nectar. The specific epithet dioica means ‘two houses’, and signifies that separate plants bear the male and the female flowers.

Red Campion Facts

Name Red campion
Scientific Name Silene dioica
Native Throughout central, western and northern Europe, and locally in southern Europe. It has been introduced in Iceland, Canada, the US, and Argentina
Common Names Morning campion, Red campion, Red catchfly, Red cockle, rough robin, Lord, God Of Blood, Red Night Elke, Red Forest Elke, Taglicht Elke
Name in Other Languages Armenian: Hamaspram (Համասպրամ)
Belarusian: Smalianka (Смалянка)
Bulgarian: Dvudomno plyuskaviche (двудомно плюскавиче)
Catalan: Melandri vermell
Chinese:  Hong jian qiu luo
Croatian: Crveni golesak, crvena pušina
Czech: Silenka dvoudomá, knotovka červená, silenka červená
Danish: Dag-Pragtstjerne
Dutch: Dagkoekoeksbloem
English: Morning campion, Red campion, Red catchfly, Red cockle, rough robin
Estonian: Punane pusurohi
Finnish: Puna-ailakki
French: Compagnon-rouge, Lychnis dioïque, Lychnis fleur de coucou, Silène dioïque, Silène rouge, ivrogne, lychnis du jour, mélandrie du jour, robinet rose, robinet rouge
Georgian: Sast’vena (სასტვენა)
German: Rote Waldnelke, Rote Lichtnelke, rote Tagnelke, rote Nachtnelke
Hungarian: Piros mécsvirág
Icelandic: Dagstjarna
Irish: Coireán coilleach
Italian: Silene dioica, femerone rosso, gittaione rosso, gittone rosso
Japanese: Reddokyanpion (レッドキャンピオン), Akebonosen’nou (アケボノセンノウ)
Latvian: Sarkanā spulgotne
Lithuanian: Raudonžiedis šakinys, raudonžiedė naktižiedė
Norwegian: Rød jonsokblom, Aaker-nelliker, Rødfot-græs, Vilde-nelliker, Raud jonsokblom, Ruksesluffellaš, Guppaslieđđi, Ruksesluffilasta, Ruksesrássi
Polish: Bniec czerwony
Russian: Droma dvudomnaya (Дрёма двудомная), smolovka lesnaya (смолёвка лесная)
Scottish Gaelic: Cìrean-choilich, Cìrein-choilich
Slovak: Silenka červená, knôtovka červená, silenka dvoudomá  
Slovene: Rdeči slizek     
Spanish: Borbonesa, colleja rocha           
Swedish: Rödblära, Skogslyse, Skoglyst rödblära, Skogslyst
Turkish: Catal nakıl         
Ukrainian: Kukolytsya dvodomna (куколиця дводомна)
Walloon: Brin-d’-leu
Welsh: Blodau Neidr, Blodeuyn Rhudd, Blodyn Crach, Blodyn Neidr, Blodyn Taranau, Blodyn y Neidr, Botwm Mab Leuanc, Ceiliog Coch, Coch y Taranau, Gludlys Coch, Lluglys Blodeuyn Rhudd, Lluglys Ysgar, Llys yr Ychain, Llys yr Ychen, Llysiau Robin
Plant Growth Habit Hairy, short-lived herbaceous biennial or perennial flowering plant
Growing Climates Woods, hedgerows, ledges of cliffs, deciduous woodlands, woodland margins and clearings,  gardens, riverbanks, open waste places, rocky slopes, stabilized screes, seashore, broad-leaved forests, coppices, yards, banks, wasteland, fell precipices
Soil Prefers fertile, well drained, non-acid, base-rich or calcareous soils
Plant Size Up to 20cm tall and erect flowering stems 30 – 90cm tall
Stem Erect, simple or basally branched, 20–90 cm high
Leaf 20–90 mm long, 3–45 mm wide; basal leaves long-petiolate, obovate-oblong; cauline leaves oblong-elliptic, acute to acuminate, shortly petiolate to subsessile, petiole 0–30 mm long
Flowering season May to June
Flower Dark pink to red flowers, each 1.8-2.5 cm across. There are five petals which are deeply notched at the end, narrowed at the base and all go into an urn-shaped calyx. As indicated by the specific name, male and female flowers are borne on separate plants
Fruit Shape & Size Broadly ovoid to globose capsule 10–15 mm long containing numerous seeds, opening at the apex by 10 teeth which curve back
Seed Dark brown to black, broadly reniform, plump, 1-1.6 mm, densely and evenly papillate
Propagation By seed or by division
Plant Parts Used Leaves, Blütten, Seeds, Roots
Season June to August
Traditional Uses
  • In some countries the crushed seeds of Red Campion have traditionally been used to treat snakebites.

Plant Description

Red campion is a hairy, short-lived, herbaceous biennial or perennial flowering plants that normally grow up to 20 cm tall and erect flowering stems are 30 – 90 cm tall. The plant is found growing in woods, hedgerows, ledges of cliffs, deciduous woodlands, woodland margins and clearings, gardens, yards, banks, riverbanks, open waste places, rocky slopes, stabilized screes, seashore, broad-leaved forests, coppices, wasteland and fell precipices. The plant prefers fertile, well drained, non-acid, base-rich or calcareous soils. Stems are erect, simple or basally branched, 20–90 cm high.

Leaves

Leaves are 20–90 mm long and 3–45 mm wide. Basal leaves are long-petiolate, obovate-oblong and cauline leaves are oblong-elliptic, acute to acuminate, shortly petiolate to sub sessile. Petiole is 0–30 mm long. Both the leaves and stems of the plant are hairy and slightly sticky. The upper leaves are stalk less.

Flowers

It is a biennial or perennial plant, with dark pink to red flowers, each 1.8-2.5 cm across. There are five petals which are deeply notched at the end, narrowed at the base and all go into an urn-shaped calyx. As indicated by the specific name, male and female flowers are borne on separate plants (dioecious), the male with 10 stamens and a 10-veined calyx, the female with 5 styles and a 20-veined calyx. The flowers are unscented. The flowering period is from May to October and the flowers are frequently visited by flies, like Rhingia campestris.

Fruit

The fruit, produced from July onwards, is a broadly ovoid to globose capsule 10–15 mm long containing numerous seeds, opening at the apex by 10 teeth which curve back. Seeds are dark-brown to black, broadly reniform, plump, 1–1.6 mm, densely and evenly papillate.

Some Facts

  • The root is used as a soap substitute for washing clothes etc.
  • The soap is obtained by simmering the root in hot water.
  • In the Language of Flowers red campion symbolizes gentleness.

References:

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2488209

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Silene+dioica

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/117137

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=20064#null

https://www.inhs.illinois.edu/data/plantdb/detail/395

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silene_dioica

https://profiles.ala.org.au/opus/foa/profile/Silene+dioica

http://sppaccounts.bsbi.org/content/silene-dioica-1.html

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/MELRU

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