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Nottingham Catchfly

Silene nutans

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Cliffs, fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, rocky places, sand dunes, wasteland.

White, 5 petals
The flowers are nodding in open clusters. They all normally face in the same direction. The petals are deeply cleft into 2 narrow lobes. In the daytime, the petals are rolled backwards and they open at nighttime. 10 stamens.
A yellowish-brown kidney-shaped capsule, up to 1cm in length.
A perennial plant which is frequently stickily hairy. It has opposite leaves (up to 3cm long) with entire margins. The leaves are narrow and broadest at their ends. The basal leaves are long-stalked but the stem leaves are not.
The flowers are fragrant at nighttime.
Other Names:
Eurasian Catchfly, Nodding Catchfly, White Campion.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Silene nutans, also known as nodding catchfly or white campion, is a species of flowering plant in the carnation family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to other parts of the world as a weed. The plant is known for its small, white flowers and hairy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and waste areas. Silene nutans is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 1 meter in height. It is commonly found in disturbed areas and is considered an invasive weed in some areas. The plant is toxic to livestock, and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.


Nottingham Catchfly: A Rare and Beautiful Wildflower

Nottingham catchfly (Silene nutans) is a rare and beautiful wildflower that is native to the United Kingdom. It is known for its delicate, nodding flowers and its vibrant, reddish-pink color. This species of catchfly is also known for its ability to attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths.

Nottingham catchfly is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which includes many well-known wildflowers such as the chickweed and the corn poppy. This species is a perennial plant that grows to a height of between 20 and 50 cm and produces flowers from June to August.

One of the most striking features of the Nottingham catchfly is its delicate flowers, which are characterized by their long, slender stems and their pink or reddish-pink petals. The flowers are held on spikes that emerge from the plant's rosette of leaves and are held in a nodding position. This gives the plant its common name, as the flowers appear to be catching the dew or raindrops that fall on them.

Nottingham catchfly is a rare species that is considered to be at risk of extinction in the UK. This is due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, the intensification of agriculture, and the spread of invasive species. However, there are many conservation efforts underway to protect and conserve this beautiful wildflower, including habitat restoration and the creation of new populations in areas where it has been lost.

Despite its rarity, Nottingham catchfly is an important species for a variety of reasons. For example, it is a valuable source of food for pollinators, who are essential for the pollination of crops and other plants. It is also an important component of the UK's native flora and plays a role in supporting the country's biodiversity.

Nottingham catchfly is a beautiful and important species that is well worth preserving. Whether you are a botanist, a gardener, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, this wildflower is sure to captivate and delight you. If you have the opportunity to see Nottingham catchfly in the wild, take a moment to admire its delicate flowers and appreciate the important role it plays in our ecosystem.

Nottingham catchfly is a very sensitive plant species, and its survival is dependent on a number of specific conditions. For example, it requires a well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients and free from competition from other plants. It also prefers an open and sunny habitat, as this allows it to receive plenty of light and warmth to encourage growth and flower production.

In the UK, Nottingham catchfly is found mainly in the east and southeast of England, where it grows in a range of habitats including grasslands, meadows, and along the edges of fields and roads. It is also known to grow in small, isolated populations in other parts of the country.

In addition to its ornamental value, Nottingham catchfly has a number of practical uses. For example, it has been used in the past as a medicinal plant to treat a range of ailments, including coughs, colds, and other respiratory complaints. In more recent times, it has been used as an ingredient in perfumes and other fragrances, where its delicate scent and vibrant color are highly valued.

Despite the challenges it faces, Nottingham catchfly is an important species that is worth protecting and conserving. There are many different ways to get involved in the conservation of this and other wildflowers, including volunteering at local conservation organizations, supporting conservation initiatives, and simply appreciating the beauty of these plants in the wild.

Nottingham catchfly is a rare and beautiful wildflower that is well worth taking the time to appreciate. With its delicate flowers and important role in the ecosystem, it is a species that deserves our protection and attention. So, next time you are out in the countryside, keep an eye out for this stunning wildflower and enjoy its beauty and importance.

It is also important to note that while Nottingham catchfly is a protected species in the UK, it is still vulnerable to threats such as habitat destruction, pesticide use, and climate change. These threats can have a significant impact on the populations of this and other wildflowers, reducing their numbers and threatening their long-term survival.

To help protect and conserve Nottingham catchfly and other wildflowers, it is important to take a number of simple steps. For example, you can support conservation organizations that work to protect and preserve these species, choose eco-friendly products that are free from harmful chemicals, and avoid activities that damage or destroy wildflower habitats.

Another way to support the conservation of Nottingham catchfly and other wildflowers is by gardening with native plants. By choosing to plant native species in your garden, you can help to create a more diverse and resilient ecosystem that is better able to support a wide range of plant and animal life.

In addition to supporting conservation efforts, it is also important to raise awareness about the importance of Nottingham catchfly and other wildflowers. This can be done by sharing information about these species with friends and family, writing articles or blog posts, and participating in events that promote the conservation of these important plants.

In conclusion, Nottingham catchfly is a beautiful and important species that deserves our protection and support. By taking simple steps to conserve this and other wildflowers, we can help to ensure that these species continue to thrive for generations to come. So, let's work together to protect and conserve this and other wildflowers, and help to keep our planet rich in biodiversity.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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