U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I lived with a stranger for 4 years...

I looked at him for 4 seasons. I smelled him, I touched him, I admired him. I showed him to my girlfriends and they got jealous. I was amazed by his reproductive abilities. I did nothing special for him, but he returned every summer to my garden, and not alone - with hundreds friends. I didn't know his name (see previous post). I know now, thanks to fellow blotanists. Karrita, Cameron, Tina helped me in my search for his identity.
Jared (Pleasant Hill Rambles ) put the final world. My mysterious stranger is
Silene armeria. Thanks, Blotanical!
I love this plant. Some web sites call it invasive. It doesn't bother me that it self-seeds, since my perennial bed is pretty big. If I don't like it in certain place - it is very easy to remove. I like that it appears in large groups. It creats waves of bright pink spots.

Other names: None-so-Pretty, Catchfly.
Height: Up to 2 ft.
Flower Color: Brilliant magenta, pink.
Plant Type: Annual. Grows quickly, blooms heavily. Regrows next spring if seeds fall on bare ground.

It feels good to find an answer. And it is somehow ... sad. I enjoyed looking through the books, web sites, comparing pictures, guessing. I found an answer and lost a mystery. I think I need to find another one. This time it could be in my garage. Another stranger. I knew its name, but forgot it. It's huge and very particular. I killed it once, but it survived. Well, it is a different story.

From Wikipedia:
Silene armeria, commonly known as the Sweet William Catchfly, is a plant of the family Caryophyllaceae. Originally a native of Europe, it has become widespread in the USA. A small-growing form is known as Dwarf Catchfly. The name comes from the way in which small insects are trapped by the sticky sap exuded onto the stem. However it is not currently regarded as a carnivorous plant, though it has been identified as a carnivorous plant in the past.[1]

Williams, Amy. (1913). Carnivorous plants of Ohio. The Ohio Naturalist, 13(5): 97-99.


  1. I have Rolly's Favorite Silene in my garden and do so hope it spreads itself around like yours has. It's a pretty big genus-thanks for sharing info about this one.

  2. Wow, they look similar! Yours has double petals and white middle. It's nice to learn about new types. Thank you, Tina!

  3. Thanks for checking out my blog and for the nice comments. ITs so much fun to finally share my garden stories and experiences with people. Keep it up!

  4. I need to start taking up close pictures. Awesome pictures!!


  5. Your garden is lovely! I can't wait so see more pictures of it.--Randy

  6. I have 3 varieties of phlox, and they're all pink or purple, but I couldn't tell you what they are. Whatever they are, if they are pink, have pretty flowers, and look nice, they're definitely keepers:) But it's nice to get you questions resolved! Isn't blotanical a nice place? People really do help each other. I've enjoyed that too.

  7. Thank you all!
    Jan, at least I can tell the name of this plant to those people who ask!

  8. Thanks for this post. I'm inspired to seek this one out and give it a try — hardy, self-seeding, and beautiful, what more could one ask?

  9. Exactly! This plant takes care of itself!

  10. Garden Thyme with the Creative GardenerJanuary 30, 2009

    You have a beautiful garden!
    Garden Thyme with the Creative Gardener

  11. Thanks, Debbie! I enjoy visiting your blog.

  12. It's gotten too hot out to work in the garage, so I'll get busy in the kitchen cleaning some strawberries I bought, and cutting up some cucumbers to take to church tonight.

    The praise leader for the Sunday night church, a college student, is having or had some wisdom teeth pulled, and won't be there tonight. A guest pastor from Sudan will be preaching, and they are having the service in both English, and I'm not sure which language, because different Sudanese people speak different languages. There are a few Sudanese families who have been attending our church, and I look forward to this different kind of service.

    Anyway, I came here to say I like your mystery plant. I have a few, I'm sure are weeds, that I need to have a post on to see if others know what they are. They are getting ready to go to seed, so I'll probably be told to get them pulled.


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