Mittwoch, 11. Mai 2011

Plant of the Day (May 11th, 2011) - Silene latifolia ssp. alba Mill.

Today's “Plant of the day” is the in my opinion beautiful Silene latifolia ssp. alba Mill. (English: “White campion”; German: “Weiße Lichtnelke”) of the Caryophyllaceae family.

S. latifolia ssp. alba - habitus

The petals of this medium sized herb are divided into two parts: the white and deeply divided “plate” and the green “nail.

The sepals are fused and end in several sharp teeth. They have several prominent veins on their back. The number of this veins depends on gender. Male Flowers have only 10 veins; female have 20. Only in female (or hermaphrodite) flowers, the hairy calyx (the fused sepals) is bloated.

The shoot axis is hairy (this are glands) and reddish-brown to red. The leaves are sitting in pairs (opposite leaf pattern) at the shoot axis. They are egg-shaped or laceolate.

S. latifolia ssp. alba Mill - Here you can see the white
"plate" and the green "nail" of the petals; the fused sepals
with their veins and the hairs on the shoot axis

S. latifolia is native to Europe and Asia but can also be found as neophyte in North America. It grows at bright and medium fresh places which a high content of nitrogen into the soil. So you can find it e.g. at roadsides, ruderal wastelands or fields. I found this one at the edge of the acre in the “Urdenbacher Kämpe”, a large wetland area in the south of Düsseldorf, Western Germany.

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