Just as the bluebells finish, Red Campion comes into flower. Associated with traditional orchards, it particularly enjoys areas of long grass in semi-shade under the fruit trees. Sometimes it cross-pollinates with the White Campion (silene latifolia) to produce pale pink flowers.
Red Campion is a native biennial or perennial plant, loved by bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies for its nectar. Its dark green, hairy, slightly sticky leaves provide food for several species of moth. It usually grows to about 30 cm. Red campion is dioecious, meaning the notched, deep pink, male and female flowers grow on separate plants.
Other common names for the plant include Batchelors' Buttons, Johnny Woods, Ragged Jack and Scalded Apples.
The crushed seeds of Red Campion were a traditional treatment for Adder bites.
Red Campion’s genus name 'silene' probably derives either from the Greek word for saliva (sialon) or from Silenus - teacher, faithful companion, and foster father of Dionysus (the Greek god of wine) who was covered with foam. Both possibilities refer to the gummy exudate found on the plant's stems.
To Learn More
Visit the Woodland Trust site.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018