Lindsay again writes today’s entry:
White cockle is thought to have been introduced to North America from Europe in the early nineteeth century through contaminated crop seeds. It is now widespread in the northern United States and southern Canada. However, only Washington lists Silene latifolia subsp. alba as a noxious weed. Like many introduced species, it can be found on roadsides and other disturbed areas, but it is also cultivated as an ornamental flower.
It is worth noting that Silene latifolia subsp. alba has been the subject of several taxonomic disputes and has consequently gained a number of scientific names, including Lychnis alba, Silene alba, and Silene pratensis. The name Silene probably comes from the Greek sialon, meaning “saliva”. This term is also related to Bacchus’ perpetually intoxicated tutor, Silenus, said to often be covered with foam — much like the secretions found on many members of the pink family.