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White Campion

Inedible Inedible Spring Spring Summer Summer

White Campion is mildly toxic as it contains saponins so is best used as a soap substitute. It is quite a common plant that often grows with and can hybridize with the very common Red Campion, Silene dioica, producing Pink Campion.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names White Campion
Scientific Name Silene latifolia
Season Start May
Season End Sep
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

The leaves are oval with a pointed end and grow in opposite pairs close to the stem without an obvious stem of their own and are covered in small hairs.

Flowers

White Campion has five white petals that are deeply notched and have a second, small, frilly ring of petals in the middle with an expanded calyx behind the flower that will become the seed pod. The flowers are dioecious meaning they have either male or female flowers on separate plants so they need to be growing near each other to have a chance of producing seeds. Unlike many flowers, White Campion flowers stay open at night and develop more of an aroma at this time.

Male Flowers

The male flower has small stamen in the middle.

Female Flowers

The female flowers have curling styles in the middle of the flower. The outer petals in this image are wilted from a very hot day.

Seeds

A bladder with the immature seeds exposed.

Seed Pods

After flowering the ‘bladder’ inflates and becomes full of seeds.

Stem

The stem is covered in small hairs and branches with several flower heads on top.

Habitat

Arable fields, woodland edges, open hedgerows, path sides and disturbed soil.

Possible Confusion

Bladder and Sea Campion can look similar but Bladder Campion has larger, more inflated ‘bladders’ and several flowers on a branched stem, Sea Campion also has a larger bladder and usually has only one flower per stem and the petals are not deeply notched.
Red Campion, pictured, looks the same but with pink flowers and a red calyx.

Smell

The flowers have a floral smell which is stronger after dusk.

Frequency

Fairly common.

Other Facts

Campions contain saponins, especially in the root, which are mildly toxic but can be used as a soap substitute by boiling the roots in water.

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