(Silene Virginica) Pink family

Flowers - Scarlet or crimson, 1 1/2 in. broad or less, a few on

slender pedicels from the upper leaf-axils. Calyx sticky,

tubular, bell-shaped, 5-cleft, enlarged in fruit; corolla of 5

wide-spread, narrow, notched petals, sometimes deeply 2-cleft; 10

stamens; 3 styles. Stem: 1 to 2 ft. high; erect, slender, sticky.

Leaves: Thin, spatulate, 3 to 5 in. long; or upper ones oblong to


Preferred Habitat - Dry, open woodland.

Flowering Season - May-September.

Distribution - Southern New Jersey to Minnesota, south to Georgia

and Missouri.

The rich, glowing scarlet of these pinks that fleck the Southern

woodland as with fire, will light up our Northern rock gardens

too, if we but sow the seed under glass in earliest spring, and

set out the young plants in well-drained, open ground in May.

Division of old perennial roots causes the plants to sulk;

dampness destroys them.

To the brilliant blossoms butterflies chiefly come to sip (see

wild pink), and an occasional hummingbird, fascinated by the

color that seems ever irresistible to him, hovers above them on

whirring wings. Hapless ants, starting to crawl up the stem,

become more and more discouraged by its stickiness, and if they

persevere in their attempts to steal from the butterfly's

legitimate preserves, death overtakes their erring feet as

speedily as if they ventured on sticky fly paper. How humane is

the way to protect flowers from crawling thieves that has been

adopted by the high-bush cranberry and the partridge pea (q.v.),

among other plants! These provide a free lunch of sweets in the

glands of their leaves to satisfy pilferers, which then seek no

farther, leaving the flowers to winged insects that are at once

despoilers and benefactors.

FIELD SOWTHISTLE MILK THISTLE FIVEFINGER COMMON CINQUEFOIL facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail