Annual or perennial herbs, with cymose or solitary, mainly pink, red or white flowers. Calyx more or less inflated, tubular, ovoid or campanulate, 5-toothed or 5-cleft, 10-many-nerved, not bracted at the base. Petals 5, narrow, clawed, usually with a scale at the base of the blade. Stamens 10. Styles 3 (rarely 4 or 5); ovary I-celled, or incompletely 2-4-celled. Pod dehiscent by 6 or rarely 3 apical teeth. Seeds mainly spiny or tubercled. [Greek, saliva, in allusion to the viscid secretions of many species.]

About 250 species of wide geographic distribution. In addition to the following, some 35 others occur in the southern and western parts of the continent. Type species: Silene anglica L.

Dwarf, arctic-alpine; flowers solitary.


S. acaulis.

Erect or ascending herbs; flowers clustered (sometimes solitary in nos. 3-7).

Leaves or some of them verticillate in 4's.


S. stellata.

Leaves all opposite.

Calyx much inflated and bladdery.

Flowers few, leafy-bracted.


S. alba.

Flowers numerous, in leafless cymes.


S. latifolia.

Calyx merely expanded by the ripening pod.

Flowers cymose or paniculate.

Day-blooming; flowers rarely white, mostly pink or red.

Perennials, more or less viscid-pubescent.

Petals 2-cleft. 2-lobed, or irregularly incised, scarlet or crimson.

Leaves lanceolate or spatulate; flowers numerous.

Flowers in slender panicles, nodding.


S. nutans.

Flowers in terminal cymes, erect.


S. virginica.

Leaves broadly oblong to obovate; flowers few or solitary


S. rotundifolia.

Petals erose, entire, or emarginate.

Petals scarlet; p!ant 3°-4° tall.


S. regia.

Petals pink; plant 4'-10' high.


S. caroliniana.

Annuals, glutinous at or below the nodes.

Calyx ovoid.

Flowers small, panicled; calyx-teeth ovate.


S. antirrhina.

Flowers large, cymose; calyx-teeth subulate.


S. conic a.

Calyx club-shaped; flowers large, cymose.


S. Armeria.

Night-blooming; flowers large, white; annual.


S. noctiflora.

Flowers spicate or racemose, short-pedicelled.

Spicate raceme simple; flowers small.


S. anglica.

Raceme forked; flowers 6"-8" broad.


S. dichotoma.

Flowers axillary and terminal, slender-pedicelled; western.


S. Mensiesii.