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Berry Catchfly

Silene baccifera

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Fields, gardens, hedgerows, roadsides, scrub, wasteland, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Flowers each have a bladder-like calyx. Berry Catchfly has similar flowers as the much more common Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris) but with less deeply cut greenish-white flowers. Insect pollinated.
Black, fleshy, berry-like fruits.
Simple, broad leaves, arranged together in opposite pairs. Can be found in some woods in the Norfolk area, plus a few other scattered location around the UK. A sprawling, many-branched perennial. Garden escape species.
Other Names:
Berry-bearing Catchfly, Red Campion.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Silene baccifera, also known as berry-bearing catchfly or red 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, red flowers and hairy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and waste areas. Silene baccifera 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.


Berry Catchfly (Silene baccifera) is a flowering plant species that belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae. This plant is native to Europe and Asia, and it is commonly found in grasslands, pastures, and rocky places. It is a low-growing plant that reaches a height of up to 20 cm.

One of the most distinctive features of Berry Catchfly is its bright red, berry-like fruits. These fruits are actually swollen, hollowed out sepals that contain the seeds of the plant. The berries are held on long stems and are quite visible, making Berry Catchfly an attractive plant for both humans and wildlife.

In terms of its leaves, Berry Catchfly has lance-shaped, dark green leaves that are arranged in a rosette at the base of the plant. Its flowers are small, white, and five-petalled, and they bloom in the summer months.

The plant has a long history of medicinal use. In traditional European medicine, the leaves and stems of Berry Catchfly were used to treat various ailments, including skin problems and digestive disorders. In modern herbal medicine, the plant is sometimes still used to treat wounds, cuts, and skin conditions.

Berry Catchfly is also of interest to wildlife, as its fruits provide an important source of food for birds and other animals. The plant is considered a nectar source for insects, which provides food for insect-eating birds and other wildlife.

In terms of cultivation, Berry Catchfly is a hardy plant that can grow in a range of soils, but it prefers well-drained soil in a sunny location. It is also quite drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for gardeners who want a low-maintenance plant.

Berry Catchfly is an attractive and versatile plant that offers a range of benefits for both people and wildlife.

Berry Catchfly is also a valuable plant for wildlife habitat restoration and conservation efforts. The plant provides cover and food for a variety of animals, including insects, birds, and small mammals. This, in turn, supports a healthy ecosystem and helps to maintain biodiversity.

In addition to its ecological benefits, Berry Catchfly is also a valuable plant for ornamental purposes. Its bright red berries and delicate white flowers make it a stunning addition to any garden. The plant is especially suitable for rock gardens, wildflower meadows, or as a border plant.

It's worth noting that Berry Catchfly is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which includes many other popular ornamental plants such as carnations, pinks, and sweet williams. This family of plants is known for its ability to adapt to a wide range of growing conditions and its hardiness, making it an ideal choice for gardeners.

Berry Catchfly is relatively easy to care for, and once established, it requires minimal maintenance. It is a low-growing plant, so it does not require regular pruning or staking. The plant is also drought-tolerant, so it can withstand periods of dry weather.

In terms of pests and diseases, Berry Catchfly is generally a hardy plant that is resistant to most common problems. However, it is important to keep an eye out for fungal diseases, especially in damp conditions. Regular monitoring and timely treatment can help to prevent the spread of these diseases.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological benefits, Berry Catchfly also has potential for use in sustainable agriculture practices. For example, the plant can be used as a cover crop in orchards or vineyards to help reduce erosion, improve soil health, and control weeds. Additionally, the plant is known to have allelopathic properties, meaning that it can release chemicals into the soil that inhibit the growth of other plants, which can help to reduce weed growth in crop fields.

Furthermore, Berry Catchfly is also a valuable source of natural dyes. The bright red fruits of the plant can be used to produce a range of different hues, from pink to deep red, depending on the extraction method used. This makes Berry Catchfly an important plant for traditional textile and craft communities, who use the dyes to color fabrics, yarns, and other materials.

In terms of conservation, Berry Catchfly is considered a rare and declining species in many parts of its native range, particularly in Europe. The plant is threatened by habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation, as well as competition from invasive species. However, conservation efforts are underway to protect and conserve this valuable species, including planting initiatives and habitat restoration projects.

Finally, Berry Catchfly is also a valuable species for scientific research and study. The plant has been the subject of numerous studies on topics such as seed germination, growth patterns, and the ecology of its native habitats. These studies are important for understanding the biology of Berry Catchfly and for developing effective conservation strategies for the species.

In conclusion, Berry Catchfly is a valuable and versatile plant that offers a range of benefits for people, wildlife, and the environment. Whether you are a gardener, conservationist, or researcher, Berry Catchfly is definitely worth exploring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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