Silene stellata (L.) Ait. - Starry Campion

Silene stellata plant

Family - Caryophyllaceae

Stems - To 1.2m tall, herbaceous, branching above, pubescent, subhollow, becoming reddish to purplish below, single or multiple from base, from taproot.

Silene stellata stem

Leaves - Opposite or in whorls of 4, lanceolate to ovate, acuminate, entire, to +10cm long, +4cm broad, sessile, pubescent above and below, often punctate.

Silene stellata leavesLeaf whorl.

Inflorescence - Terminal panicles. Flowers opposite, decussate. Pedicels to -1cm long, tomentose. Each flower subtended by linear bract to 1cm long, 1.2mm broad.

Flowers - Corolla white, deeply five lobed and lobes joined at base into short tube 3mm long. Tube lanate. Lobes clawed, deeply fimbriate, to +/-1.5cm long. Stamens 10, typically protruding beyond corolla, erect. Filaments white, glabrous. Anthers 2.5-3mm long. Styles 3, erect, exserted, whitish, glabrous, 5mm long. Calyx campanulate. Calyx tube to 9mm long, 5-lobed, pubescent externally, glabrous internally, greenish-white, 10-nerved. Lobes acute, 4mm long. Calyx persistent in fruit. Fruit a unilocular capsule with six teeth at apex.

Silene stellata calyx

Silene stellata flower

Flowering - May - September.

Habitat - Open woods and slopes.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species is found throughout Missouri. The plant is commonly encountered and easily recognized by its fringed (fimbriate), white corolla lobes and whorled leaves. The species name means "star" because the flowers are starlike.

Photographs taken at Flemming Park, Jackson County, MO., 5-28-00, and at Busiek State Forest, MO., 6-17-05.


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