Herbs, mainly erect, some with the aspect of Silene. Calyx ovoid, tubular, or inflated, 5-toothed, 10-nerved. Petals 5, narrowly clawed, the blade entire, 2-cleft, or laciniate, generally crowned. Stamens 10. Ovary I-celled or incompletely several-celled at the base; many-ovuled; styles 5, opposite the calyx-teeth (occasionally 4 or rarely even 3). Capsule dehiscent by 10 or fewer apical teeth or valves. [From the Greek, for lamp, in allusion to the flame-colored flowers of some species.]

A genus of about 35 species, natives of the north temperate and arctic zones. In addition to the following about 8 others occur in the northern and western parts of North America. Type species: Lychnis chalcedonica L.

Calyx-teeth not twisted; plants pubescent, glandular or glabrate.

Flowers cymose or panicled; calyx enlarged by the ripening pod.

Fruiting calyx much enlarged, ovoid, obovoid or globose.

Plants viscid-pubescent; flowers usually dioecious.

Flowers white or pink, opening in the evening.


L. alba.

Flowers red, opening in the morning.


L. dioica.

Plant roughish-pubescent; flowers perfect, scarlet.


L. chalcedonica.

Fruiting calyx campanulate or tubular.

Petals large, deeply laciniate; introduced species.


L. Flos-cuculi.

Petals small, entire or emarginate; native western species.


L. Drummondii.

Flowers solitary; calyx inflated; plants arctic-alpine.

Flower nodding; pod erect.


L. apetala.

Flower and pod erect or nearly so.


L. affinis.

Calyx-teeth twisted; plant densely white-woolly all over.


L. Coronaria.

1. Lychnis Alba Mill. White Campion. Evening Lychnis

Fig. 1817

Lychnis alba Mill. Gard. Dict. Ed. 8, no. 4. 1768. Lychnis vespertina Sibth. Fl. Oxon. 146. 1794.

Biennial, viscid-pubescent, loosely and freely branching, 1°-2° high. Leaves ovate-oblong or ovate-lanceolate, acute, 1'-3' long, the lower tapering into a margined petiole, the upper sessile; flowers few, loosely paniculate, 9"-12" broad, white or pinkish, opening at dusk and remaining open into the morning of the next day, slightly fragrant, often dioecious; calyx at first tubular, 6"-9" long, about 2" wide, swelling with the ripening pod so as to become ovoid and 6"-7" in diameter, its teeth short, lanceolate; petals obovate, 2-cleft, crowned; teeth of the capsule 2-cleft, nearly erect.

In waste places and on ballast, Nova Scotia to Ontario, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. Ad-ventive or naturalized from Europe. Snake-, cuckoo-or thunder-flower. Bull- or cow-rattle. White-robin. Summer.

1 Lychnis Alba Mill White Campion Evening Lychnis 159