Silene latifolia subsp. alba

Lindsay again writes today’s entry:

Thanks to Anne (aka annkelliott@Flickr) for submitting this lovely photo (original photograph via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool)!

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.

Silene latifolia subsp. alba

9 responses to “Silene latifolia subsp. alba”

  1. Jackie

    That is a breathtaking photograph.

  2. Sheila

    Thank you. You have really captured the “twinkle” factor in the petals!

  3. Betty

    I noticed a reference to Campion when I clicked on a site mentioned. Is the Silene related to the common Rose Campion which is very prolific in my area of the South?

  4. Michael F

    Silene latifolia is White Campion; yes, closely related to Rose Campion (Silene and Lychnis are merged into a single genus by some botanists).

  5. Sue Vargas

    The sparkle is called “diamond dust” in the Hemerocallis world.

  6. Bonnie

    This is absolutely gorgeous!

  7. ingrid

    Selene is Goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology, and the word Selene is used for the Full Moon in Greek. Just wondering whether Silene might come from this? It seems particularly appropriate for this lovely White Campion!
    Thanks for the photo & write-up.

  8. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    I just love the “sparkle” or “twinkle” on these petals — I’ve noticed it in various other kinds of flowers, too.
    Can someone provide the scientific explanation, i.e. what is it about the structure of these petals that creates the sparkle?

  9. linda

    I love my daily photos, and the macros are exquisite, but it would be very useful if each one included a photo showing the whole plant in its habitat – which we sometimes get and the places they grow are fascinating and often very surprising.

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