Another thanks to Jackie Chambers for a photograph and write-up! We did record Jackie’s presentation on Black Irises and Red Tulips – Wildflowers of Israel and Jordan, but I haven’t had an opportunity to check it yet. If it is of sufficient technical quality, I’ll post it sometime soon.
Egyptian campion is native to the Middle East. It is a common annual found in fields and disturbed areas throughout Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan and Egypt. The plant can reach 15-20cm in height, and creates magnificent carpets of pink flowers in olive groves and orchards during the spring.
The flowers are pink with 5 petals. Each petal has two tooth-like projections at the top, and a notch in the base. The flowers are hermaphroditic, meaning they have both staminate (pollen-producing) and carpellate (ovule-producing) structures. The leaves are simple; there are two per node in an opposite arrangement. The fruit is a capsule containing many seeds. For more photos, visit the Flora of Israel online.
This is just one of 40 Silene species found in Israel. The Flora of Israel also has photos and descriptions of the other species. Worldwide, there are thought to be over seven hundred species, with a distribution primarily in the northern hemisphere (source: Flora of North America account of Silene).