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Alpine Catchfly

Silene suecica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Cliffs, fields, gardens, rocky places, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Deeply notched pink petals. The petals are well spaced. Flowers appear clustered together at the top of the plant. The flowers are smaller (6 to 12mm in size) and pinker than those of the similar looking Sticky Catchfly (Silene viscaria).
The fruit is a 5-parted capsule.
Narrow, stalkless, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are in opposite pairs up the erect stem. Similar in appearance to Sticky Catchfly (Silene viscaria) but shorter and the leaves are not sticky.
Other Names:
Swedish Catchfly, White Campion.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Silene suecica, also known as Swedish catchfly or white campion, is a species of flowering plant in the carnation family. It is native to Europe 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 suecica 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.


Alpine Catchfly: A Rare and Beautiful Wildflower

The Alpine catchfly, also known as Silene suecica, is a rare and beautiful wildflower that is native to high-altitude Alpine regions in Europe. This delicate and stunning plant is characterized by its bright pink or reddish-pink blooms, which sit atop slender stems that can reach up to 30 cm in height.

One of the most distinctive features of the Alpine catchfly is its bloom, which is comprised of five petals that are tightly arranged in a cup-like shape. Each petal is frilly and finely textured, creating a unique and eye-catching appearance. The center of the bloom is adorned with a cluster of yellow stamens, adding further interest and beauty to this already impressive plant.

In addition to its visually appealing blooms, the Alpine catchfly is also highly prized for its ability to thrive in harsh and challenging environments. This wildflower is able to survive and flourish in cold and windy conditions, making it a popular choice for planting in high-altitude gardens.

Despite its hardiness, the Alpine catchfly is considered a threatened species in many parts of Europe. This is due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, overgrazing, and climate change. As a result, conservation efforts are underway to protect and preserve this unique and beautiful wildflower.

If you are interested in growing Alpine catchflies in your own garden, be aware that they require well-draining soil and a sunny location in order to thrive. In addition, it is important to ensure that the plants are not disturbed or damaged, as they can be slow to recover from damage and are not easily propagated from cuttings.

The Alpine catchfly is a rare and beautiful wildflower that is well worth seeking out for your garden. With its bright and eye-catching blooms and ability to thrive in challenging conditions, this plant is sure to be a stunning and unique addition to any high-altitude garden.

In terms of maintenance, the Alpine catchfly is relatively low-maintenance and requires little attention once established. It is important to keep the soil around the plants moist, but not waterlogged, and to provide adequate drainage. If grown in containers, it is also important to ensure that the plants are not over-watered, as this can lead to root rot.

In terms of its distribution, the Alpine catchfly is primarily found in high-altitude Alpine regions of Europe, including the Swiss Alps, the Pyrenees Mountains, and the mountains of Norway. It grows in rocky and gravelly soils, and is often found in crevices and on ledges where it is protected from the wind.

The Alpine catchfly is a popular choice for rock gardens and alpine gardens, as it is able to thrive in harsh and challenging environments. In addition, it is also a popular choice for wildflower gardens, where it can be planted alongside other species of wildflowers to create a diverse and visually appealing display.

It is also important to note that the Alpine catchfly is a short-lived plant, with a lifespan of just 2-3 years. However, it will often self-seed, which allows it to re-establish itself in the garden over time.

The Alpine catchfly is a unique and beautiful wildflower that is well worth considering for your garden. With its bright and eye-catching blooms and ability to thrive in challenging conditions, this plant is sure to be a stunning addition to any high-altitude or wildflower garden.

Another important aspect of the Alpine catchfly is its ecological significance. As a native plant species, it plays a vital role in supporting local ecosystems and the many other species that rely on it. For example, the blooms of the Alpine catchfly are a major source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, providing them with the energy and nutrition they need to survive.

In addition, the Alpine catchfly is also an important food source for herbivores, such as mountain goats and sheep. These animals help to maintain the delicate balance of the Alpine ecosystem, by grazing on the vegetation and keeping the landscape open and free of excessive growth.

Despite its ecological importance, the Alpine catchfly is facing increasing threats from a variety of sources, including habitat destruction, climate change, and the introduction of non-native plant species. As a result, it is important for gardeners and conservationists to do their part to protect this species and its native habitat.

One way to do this is by planting and protecting Alpine catchflies in your own garden, helping to ensure that they remain a part of the landscape for future generations to enjoy. Another way is by supporting conservation efforts, such as those aimed at protecting and restoring native habitats and controlling the spread of non-native species.

In conclusion, the Alpine catchfly is a beautiful and ecologically important wildflower that is well worth protecting and preserving. With its bright blooms, unique appearance, and ability to thrive in challenging conditions, this plant is a true gem of the Alpine landscape.