Silene dioica, Red Campion

Red Campion male flower (Silene dioica)

Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica)Technically the flowering season is from May to October with the fruit being produced from July onwards. This is one of those flowers that is so abundant in my area that I can almost guarantee to find a flower at any time of year. There is always the odd flower that will open out of season and I will see this one flowering in December and January. It is a welcome winter sight.

Silene is the feminine form of Silenus (A Greek deity of the forest). Dioica comes from the word dioecious ( a Greek word meaning “two households”) In botany it means that male and female flowers are borne on separate plants.

Male flowers have ten stamens and a ten veined calyx.

Red Campion male flower (Silene dioica) Red Campion male flower (Silene dioica)   Red Campion male calyx (Silene dioica)   Red Campion male flower (Silene dioica)Female flowers have five styles and a twenty veined calyx.

Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica) Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica)   Red Campion female calyx (Silene dioica)   Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica)The styles go right down to the base of the flower and the sepals wrap around them to form a structure known as the calyx. As the flower dies and the petals fall off, the fruit develops inside this calyx.

Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica) Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica)   Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica)   Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica)

Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica)The ripe fruit has an opening at the top with ten curved back teeth and inside are numerous small black seeds.

Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica) Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica)   Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica)   Red Campion fruit (Silene dioica)The leaves of Red Campion are oval and untoothed. The stem is hairy.

Red Campion leaves (Silene dioica) Red Campion leaves (Silene dioica)   Red Campion leaves (Silene dioica)   Red Campion leaves (Silene dioica)Colour can vary from a deep rose red to pale pink and even albino white. There is also another plant called White Campion that will hybridise to produce pink flowers. (These pictures are Silene dioica in a pale form)

Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica) Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica)   Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica)   Red Campion female flower (Silene dioica)Taxonomy

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Genus: Silene

Species: Silene dioica

Red Campion (Silene dioica)Back to Pink Wildflowers

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Wild flowers from The Forest of Dean

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