T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Silene unifora (Sea campion)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Silene
Species: S. uniflora
Binomial name: Silene unifora
Synonyms: Silene maritima, Silene vulgaris subsp. maritima, Oberna uniflora, Silene vulgaris subsp. alpina
Common name: Sea campion, Bladder campion

Silene uniflora (Sea campion) is a coastal perennial herb that forms mat-like stands. It is endemic to many regions in the northern hemisphere. New Zealand has 13 Silene species (a weedy genus) that are naturalised. Silene uniflora is not commonly recognised as environmental weed. In New Zealand it is widely naturalised and thrives on dry, sunny sandy gravely and rocky coastal sites e.g. Miramar Peninsula and a similar garden site on Somes Island (Wellington harbour) where it is being eradicated.

Sea campion is a prostrate plant that grows to a height of 30 cm. The leaves are opposite, stalkless, lanceolate, fleshy, glabrous, wax-covered and are a bluish green. The white flowers have 5 petals and have a characteristic vase like calyx (fruit pod) with purple brown longitudinal veins.