Most summer flowers are stout and sturdy and the flowers themselves are able to withstand much sunshine and heat without withering. But the starry campion, Bower of midsummer woods, is as delicate as a spring blossom. It wilts almost at once when it is picked or when the heat is intense even in the shady woods, and dangles its lacy bells briefly before they fall.
Silene stellata ( L.) Ait.
The starry campion's Bower when it is spread widely shows five petals which are deeply laciniate or cut almost the length of each petal. It appears almost to be a group of white tatters of lace held together by the pale, green-white calyx. It is one of the few really delicate and fragile summer wild flowers in the Illinois woods.
I'he flowers are arranged in pairs and clusters along the tall, pale stem. The Leaves are stemless, tapering, grey-green, and slightly downy, arranged in whorls of lour along the stem. 'I'his pattern is a good indication of the plant's identity even when it is not in bloom.
Starry campion is part of that plant and animal community which is found in the mixed oak woods in the summer. Under the shade of the leafy canopy there are lew flowers the campion, the skullcap, the American hellflower the tick trefoil, and the tangle of bedstraw matted on the ground. Here the wood pewee on a high dead twig cries plaintively all day long, and the red-eyed vireo endlessly explores the treetops and sings a monotonous song. Beneath the campions, the chipmunks scurry about on their minutely important errands, and a beetle, glistening with iridescent blue and black, climbs a campion stalk and then takes wing through the summer woods.