Silene acaulis, or moss campion, is featured in the recently-released Alpine Plants of British Columbia, Alberta, and Northwest North America, authored by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon.
A member of the carnation or pink family, Silene acaulis is a perennial alpine plant that grows from a stout taproot. Above ground level, dense tufts are formed. The mainly basal leaves are linear to lance-shaped. They overlap and crowd each other, contributing to the cushion-like appearance. Bright pink flowers sit atop a single stem and have 5 petals that are united into a cylindrical or bell-shape. The number of petals and united calyx are distinguishing features in this genus.
Depending on latitude, moss campion can be found growing at sea level (in the Arctic) to mountaintops above tree-line, sometimes at elevations of 4200 meters (~13800 feet). Its preferred habitat in montane environments is dry, rocky outcrops. It is among the most abundant species of the genus in these alpine environments. The species has a circumpolar distribution in the Northern Hemisphere.
In a study by Molenda, O. et al. (authors from the University of Toronto and York University), Silene acaulis‘s role as a nurse plant for multiple trophic levels, including that of other plant species and invertebrates was researched. It was determined that moss campion acts as a