SWEET-WILLIAM CATCHFLY

Silene armeria

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8pink flower8red
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round

26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
With glaucous leaves looking quite like Rose Campion with its all-pink flowers but the petals have gaps between them unlike those of Rose Campion. (The green toothed leaves belong to a differing plant))


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
It differs greatly from Rose Campion in that numerous flowers are on short branches in bunches at the top.


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
There are gaps between the petals (the petals overlap in Rose Campion


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
The sepal tube is extremely long, almost concolorous with the petals and tapers towards the back in a manner perhaps unique to Sweet-William Catchfly (other Catchflys do not appear to have this shape).


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
Anthers are violet-coloured.


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
Leaves are glaucous, oval-wide, in pairs and attach to the stem without stalks. They might look as though they are amplexicaul, completely surrounding the srem, but they are not, they are separate leaves but they do have auricles that extend around the sides of the stem.


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
The leaves are glaucous and toothless. (The toothed green leaves are another plant!).


26th June 2016, a garden, Wolverhampton, West Midlands. Photo: © Bill Gilruth
The stem exudes a sticky brownish substance (dead centre and top left) to which insects become stuck, hence the name 'catchfly'. It is mostly sticky just below the inflorescence as can be seen by the reddish area on the second photo. In the past it was regarded as carnivorous, but not presently. The photographer, Bill Gilruth, has a theory that the sticky fluid prevents insects climbing up the stem to attack the flowers rather than being an aid to disable insects whilst it dissolves them, as most carnivorous plants do. Lacking a 'soup-bowl' in which incapacitated insects can be dissolved and digested (as possessed by most other, but not all, carnivorous plants) seems a non-starter for Sweet-William Catchfly.


Slight resemblance to : Rose Campion (Silene coronaria)

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The extremely long concolorous sepal tube which tapers at the rear to an abrupt stop.

It is a non-native garden plant of which it is a frequent escapee, often helped along by being thrown on waste places and tips.

Your Author does not know if it lives up to its common name, smelling sweet, or whether it is the sticky fluid which it exudes on its stems tastes sweet.


  Silene armeria  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Caryophyllaceae  

Distribution
 family8Carnation & Campion (Pink) family8Caryophyllaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Silene
Silene
(Campions)

SWEET-WILLIAM CATCHFLY

Silene armeria

Carnation & Campion (Pink) Family [Caryophyllaceae]