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

Silene latifolia Poir.
white cockle
Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6114)

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Distribution of Silene latifolia
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Species Information

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Biennial or short-lived perennial herb from a branched stem-base; stems erect, several, branched, stiff-hairy below, becoming glandular in the inflorescence, 0.3-1.0 m tall.
Basal leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate, 2-10 cm long, 2 cm wide, slenderly to broadly stalked; stem leaves opposite, 5-10 pairs, lanceolate, the lower ones often larger than the basal, becoming slightly reduced and unstalked above; stipules lacking.
Inflorescence of unisexual (the plants either male or female) flowers, rather showy, evening blooming and scented, several to many in open, spreading, leafy-bracted clusters; petals 5, white, stalklike at the bases, the blades 7-10 mm long, narrowly egg-shaped, 2-cleft to about midlength, with triangular appendages at the base; sepals 5, united, forming a downy, sticky tube 15-20 mm long.
Capsules egg-shaped-cylindric, to 20 mm long, with 5, 2-toothed valves; seeds about 1.5 mm long, dark bluish-brown, prominently warty-pimply in concentric rows.
See S. dioicia for discussion of hybridization.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in SW BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References