Cucubalus acaulis L.
Cucubalus muscosus Lam.
Lychnis acaulis (L.) Scop.
Oncerum acaule (L.) Dulac
Silene elongata Bellardi
Silene exscapa All.
Silene bryoides Jord.
Common Name: Moss Campion
Silene acaulis is a low-growing, densely tufted evergreen perennial plant growing from a stout taproot with a much-branched woody caudex. The densely-branched stems form a mat or cushion of growth around 5 - 13cm tall and 10 - 45cm in diameter[
The plant is sometims harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Arctic regions, also in subalpine regions further south in Europe; eastern Siberia and Russian Far East; N. America and Greenland
Arctic and alpine tundra, gravelly, often wet places, rocky ledges; at elevations up to 4,200 metres[
]. Mountain ledges and scree in N. Wales, the Lake District and Scotland[
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Silene acaulis is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -40°c when fully dormant[
Easily grown in a light soil in full sun, doing best on a moraine[
]. Prefers a cool climate, plants can be difficult to bring into flower in the garden[
A polymorphic species[
A gynodioecious species - individual plants within the species can bear either only female flowers or only bisexual flowers[
Plant - cooked[
]. Consumed as a vegetable in Iceland and in Arctic and Alpine regions[
The raw root skins have been used for food[
]. This report refers to the sub-species Silene acaulis exscapa. (All.)DC.
The plant has been used in the treatment of children with colic[
Plants form a rooting carpet and can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 25cm apart each way[
An extract of a culture of the callus of the plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, hair and skin conditioner[
We have no specific information for this species, but many species in the genus Silene contain saponins and, when crushed in water, will produce a lather that can be used as a soap.
Seed - sow early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring or autumn.
Stem tip cuttings in late summer.