E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq.
moss campion
Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #16072)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Silene acaulis
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Species Information

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General:
Perennial herb from a woody root and a branched stem-base; densely tufted, forming thick cushions to 40 cm wide; stems erect, solitary, simple, glabrous, 3-6 (rarely 15) cm tall.
Leaves:
Basal and stem leaves opposite, linear to lance-linear, unstalked, 5-15 mm long, to 1.5 mm wide, glabrous to fringed at the base or stiffly short-hairy, channelled above, so dense as to obscure the stem; stipules lacking.
Flowers:
Inflorescence of solitary flowers, usually unisexual (the plants either male or female); petals 5, pink to lavender (occasionally white), egg-shaped, 2-cleft, 8-12 mm long, with narrow stalklike bases about twice as long as the blades; sepals 5, green or frequently pinkish to purplish-tinged, united, forming a tube 4-9 mm long, 10-nerved, glabrous.
Fruits:
Capsules subcylindric, 4-10 mm long, 6-valved; seeds light brown to yellowish, kidney-shaped, 0.8-1.2 mm long, weakly pimply.
Notes:
Two varieties occur in BC:

1. Calyces 4-7 mm tall.................... var. acaulis

1. Calyces 6-11 mm tall..................... var. subacaulescens (F.N. Williams) Fern. & St. John

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows, rock outcrops and fellfields in the alpine zone; common throughout BC, except infrequent on the Queen Charlotte Islands; var. acaulis - circumpolar, N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF and S to OR, ID, MT and NH, var. subacaulescens - E to AB and S to MT, AZ, NM, NV and OR; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Silene acaulis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 5 1886 3000
Slope Gradient (%) 0 21 235
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 214 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
C
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
874
Modal BEC Zone Class
BAFA
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(122), BAFA(425), BG(1), BWBS(1), CMA(12), ESSF(134), IDF(3), IMA(86), MH(4), SWB(50)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is alpine tundra & boreal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References