Silene Quadrifida L. (Heliosperma Quadrifidum Reichb)

Root with fusiform branches, and tufts of procumbent, slender, brittle stems. Stems 2-6 inches high, viscid above, glabrous, or with a few scattered hairs, dichotomously branched above. Leaves narrowly linear, acute, entire, ciliated at the base, slightly connate, the lowermost gradually narrowed into the leafstalk. Flowers in a terminal, loose, few-flowered cyme, white. Petals 4-toothed. Corona sharply dentate. Calyx glabrous, erect, teeth ovate, obtuse, unchanged when fruit is ripe. Capsule as long as calyx. A very slender little plant, growing in shaded, moist limestone rocks and cliffs in the Alps, from 3500 to 7600 feet. June to August.


Carpathians, Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Jura (Reculet); Central and Western Pyrenees. From Spain to Macedonia.

Silene Rupestris L. (Plate XV)

Stems dichotomously branched, ascending or erect, glabrous and glaucous like the whole plant. Leaves lanceolate, narrowed at the base, sessile; upper leaves broader. Flowers milk-white or rose-coloured. Petals emarginate, almost twice as long as the calyx.

Rocky Alpine and sub-alpine situations, preferring granite and siliceous rocks; its counterpart on limestone being Gypsophila repens. It extends up to 9000 feet. June to August.


Eastern, Central, and Western Alps, Spain, Pyrenees, Cevennes, Vosges, Corsica, Lapland, Scandinavia, Altai.

Like many of the genus it is easily propagated from seed, and, disliking lime, it should have plenty of grit or granite chips.

Silene Nutans L. Nottingham Catchfly

Stock tufted, with a rather thick top-root, short, procumbent, barren shoots, and erect flowering stems, 1-2 feet high, more or less hoary with short hairs and viscid in the upper part. Lower leaves oblong-obovate, pointed, narrowed into a long stalk; stem-leaves few, narrow, and sessile. Flowers nodding in a loose panicle, 3 or 5 together on short opposite peduncles. Calyx tubular, 8-12 mm. long. Petals white or greenish underneath, deeply 2-cleft, with long claws, the style and stamens projecting beyond the flower.

Hilly or stony pastures, rocky and waste places by roadsides; very common. June, July.


Nearly all Europe, Russian Asia to the Arctic Circle. British.

It is a common plant in the sub-alpine region, and we once found the var. spathulcefolia Burnat as high as 8000 feet, near La Grave in Dauphiny.

Silene Cordifolia All

A pubescent-viscous and leafy species, with ascending stems, about 10 inches high. Leaves ovate-acuminate, the upper ones larger and heart-shaped at base. Flowers white or pink, shortly peduncled, erect, 1-4 on the branches. Calyx broad, with 10 nerves and linear-lanceolate teeth. Petals deeply 2-cleft, often reflexed. Capsule oblong, twice as long as the glabrous carpophore.

Rocks and screes of the Alpine and sub-alpine region in the French and Italian Maritime Alps; rare. July, August.