Annual herb with a taproot 20 cm - 0.5 m tall Stem: minutely hairy below, glandular above. Leaves: opposite, 2 - 5 cm long, 1.5 - 6 mm wide, linear to narrowly lance-shaped or reverse lance-shaped with a pointed tip. Flowers: in a stiff cluster (cyme), white to reddish, 5 - 13 mm long. Stalk upright, 1 - 3 cm long, slender. Stamens ten. Styles three. Sepals: fused at the base into a tube (calyx). Calyx tube 1 - 1.5 cm long, 5 - 7 mm wide, around 30-veined, with five relatively long lobes. Lobes 5 - 7 mm long and lance-shaped with a pointed tip. Petals: five, white to reddish, 3 - 6 mm long, longer than the calyx, narrowly clawed, shallowly two-lobed. Fruit: a dehiscent capsule, three-chambered at the base, about 1 cm long. Seeds less than 1 mm long, roughened.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: May to July
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Eurasia. Typically a weed of waste places. Known in the Chicago Region from a single specimen collected in cindery sandy soil.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Silene probably comes from the Greek word sialon, meaning saliva, referring to the sticky secretion on many of these plants. It may also have come from the word seilenos, referable to Silenus-a foam-covered, drunken character in Greek Mythology. Conica means cone-shaped.
Erect annual 2-5 dm, the stems puberulent below, glandular above; lvs linear to narrowly lanceolate or oblanceolate, 2-5 cm נ1.5-6 mm; fls 5-13; pedicels 1-3 cm; cal ca 30- nerved, eventually 12-17 נ5-7 mm, the lobes attenuate, 5-7 mm; pet white to reddish, conspicuously surpassing the cal, the blade 3-6 mm, shallowly 2-lobed, the appendages 1-2 mm, deeply 2-lobed; fr 8-10 mm, 3-locular at the base; seeds 0.6-0.9 mm wide; 2n=20. Native of Eurasia, sparingly intr. as a weed of waste places mainly along our Atlantic coast, but also inland to Mich. May-July.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.