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

Vaccaria pyramidata Medikus
cow-basil (cow-cockle; cowherb)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Thayne Tuason  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #76414)

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Distribution of Vaccaria pyramidata
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a slender taproot; stems erect, solitary, branched, glabrous and more or less glaucous, 15-80 cm tall.
Basal leaves oblong-lanceolate, glabrous, glaucous; stem leaves opposite, lanceolate to oblong, heart-shaped, unstalked, 3-9 cm long, 5-25 mm wide, glabrous, glaucous; stipules lacking.
Inflorescence of few to many flowers in open clusters; petals 5, pink, the blade wedge-shaped or egg-shaped, 5-8 mm long; sepals 5, often purplish, united, forming a tube 11-15 mm long, with 5 sharp angles or wings, glabrous.
Capsules globular, 1-celled; seeds reddish-black, globose, 1.7-2.1 mm wide.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry fields and waste places in the steppe and lower montane zones; rare in SW and SC BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Vaccaria pyramidata

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




Elevation (metres) 675 799 892
Slope Gradient (%) 22 41 60
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
142 168 190
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 2 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: PP(1)


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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Saponaria vaccaria
Vaccaria segetalis

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References