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Useful Temperate Plants

Silene dioica

(L.) Clairv.

Caryophyllaceae

+ Synonyms

Agrostemma sylvestris (Schkuhr) G.Don

Lychnis dioica L.

Lychnis rubra Patze, E.Mey. & Elkan

Lychnis sylvestris Schkuhr

Melandrium dioicum (L.) Coss. & Germ.

Melandrium diurnum Fr.

Melandrium intermedium Schur

Melandrium pratense Röhl.

Melandrium purpureum Rupr.

Melandrium rubrum Garcke

Melandrium stenophyllum Schur

Melandrium sylvestre (Schkuhr) Röhl.

Saponaria dioica (L.) Moench

Silene diurna Gren. & Godr.

Silene hornemannii Fenzl

Silene rubra E.H.L.Krause

Common Name: Red Campion

No Image.

General Information

Silene dioica is a biennial to perennial plant with a slender, creeping rootstock producing numerous decumbent, non-flowering shoots up to 20cm tall and erect flowering stems 30 - 90cm tall[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a soap substitute. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, there are many named varieties[
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
,
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].

Known Hazards

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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Europe - Norway to northern Spain, east to European Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria; N. Africa - Morocco

Habitat

Woods, especially in clearings; hedgerows; rocky slopes and stabilized screes; on well-drained, at least moderately base-rich soils, preferring substrata rich in nitrates; at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].

Properties

Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitBiennial/Perennial
Height0.50 m
PollinatorsBees, Hoverflies
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Silene dioica is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to at least -20°c when fully dormant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Prefers a well-drained nitrogen-rich soil in light shade[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Succeeds in any position that is not hot and dry[
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
].
Hybridizes readily with Silene latifolia[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The root is used as a soap substitute for washing clothes etc[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. The soap is obtained by mashing and then simmering the root in hot water.

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
If you have sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ during the spring.
Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2020-02-27. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Silene+dioica>

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