Conosilene conica conoidea (L.) Á.Löve & Kjellq.
Conosilene conoidea Fourr.
Cucubalus conoideus Lam.
Common Name: Large Sand Catchfly
Silene conoidea is an erect, annual plant with a solitary stem that is usually branched in the upper half; it can grow 25 - 60cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine
Although no mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it does contain saponins.
Although poisonous, saponins also have a range of medicinal applications and many saponin-rich plants are used in herbalism (particularly as emetics, expectorants and febrifuges) or as sources of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Saponins are also found in a number of common foods, such as many beans.
Saponins have a quite bitter flavour and are in general poorly absorbed by the human body, so most pass through without harm. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins.
Saponins are much more toxic to many cold-blooded creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish and make them easy to catch[
Southwest Europe - France, Spain; N. Africa - Morocco o Egypt; Asia - Caucasus to Arabia, east to Mongolia, western China, Himalayas to Nepal
A casual of waste ground in Britain[
]. Amongst crops and crop stubble, grasslands, road margins etc, in both sandy and loamy soils; at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
Species in this genus generally grow well in a sunny position in a well-drained but moisture-retentive fertile soil[
The plant is said to be emollient and is used in baths or as a fumigant[
The juice of the plant is used in the treatment of ophthalmia[
Seed - can be started off in spring in trays in a greenhouse and then planted out in late spring or early summer. Can also be sown in situ in spring.