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Bladder Campion

Silene vulgaris

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

White, 5 petals
5 deeply notched petals, up to 2cm across. Its inflated calyx, which ranges from purple to yellow, gives Bladder Campion its name and makes it easily distinguishable from other flowers of the same genus.
Dry, round, papery capsules which split open when ripe. The capsules bear many seeds and are reticulated.
Greyish-green leaves with pointed tips, narrow and oval. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs.
Bladder Campion has a mild and pleasant fragrance. The aroma is subtle and not overpowering, adding a touch of delicacy to the overall sensory experience when in close proximity to the plant. The gentle scent contributes to the plant's appeal, especially when encountered in meadows, grasslands, or other natural habitats in the UK.
Other Names:
Catchfly, Common Bladder Catchfly, Cowbell, Maiden's Tears.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Silene vulgaris, also known as bladder campion or catchfly, 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, pink or white flowers and hairy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and waste areas. Silene vulgaris 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.


Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris) is a species of flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. It is a biennial or perennial herb that grows up to 60 cm tall and produces beautiful, 5-petaled flowers in shades of pink, white, or purple. These flowers are surrounded by distinctive, inflated bladder-like calyx that gives the plant its common name.

Bladder Campion is found in a wide range of habitats, including meadows, fields, and roadsides. It prefers moist soil and can grow in full sun or partial shade. The plant's leaves are lance-shaped and are arranged in a basal rosette.

In addition to its attractive flowers, Bladder Campion is also of interest to ecologists because of its relationship with certain species of moths. These moths are important pollinators of the plant, and the relationship between the plant and the moths is an example of mutualism, where both species benefit.

Bladder Campion is not widely cultivated, but it is easy to grow from seed and can be an attractive addition to a wildflower garden. It is a hardy plant that is not susceptible to many diseases or pests, making it a low-maintenance choice for gardeners.

Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris) is a beautiful and interesting plant that is well worth considering for your garden. Whether you are interested in its distinctive flowers or its relationship with moths, this species is sure to add a touch of nature to your outdoor space.

The species Silene vulgaris, commonly known as Bladder Campion, is also known for its medicinal properties. It has been used in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and respiratory problems. The plant's leaves and stems contain compounds that have been found to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Bladder Campion is also considered to be a food source for some species of butterflies and moths. The larvae of some moths feed on the leaves and stems of the plant, and the adult moths use the nectar from the flowers as a source of food. This makes Bladder Campion an important plant for promoting biodiversity in the environment.

Another interesting aspect of Bladder Campion is its relationship with bumblebees. Bumblebees are often the primary pollinators of the plant, and their activity is crucial for the successful reproduction of Bladder Campion. This relationship highlights the importance of bumblebees in maintaining the health and vitality of ecosystems.

In some regions, Bladder Campion is considered a threatened species, due to habitat loss and degradation caused by human activities such as urbanization and agriculture. Conservation efforts are underway to protect and preserve the plant and its habitats, and many organizations and individuals are working to promote the importance of preserving biodiversity.

Bladder Campion is a fascinating and important species that deserves attention and protection. Whether you are interested in its beauty, its medicinal properties, its role in promoting biodiversity, or its cultural significance, Bladder Campion is a plant that has much to offer.

Bladder Campion is also known for its unique reproductive strategy. It is capable of producing both sexually and asexually, which gives it a significant advantage in colonizing new habitats. The plant produces seeds that can be dispersed by wind or animals, allowing it to spread to new locations. At the same time, the plant can also produce vegetative shoots that can establish new plants without the need for seeds. This gives Bladder Campion the ability to quickly colonize disturbed habitats and helps it to persist in the face of environmental changes.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological value, Bladder Campion has also played a role in human culture and history. In some cultures, the plant has been used in folk medicine to treat a variety of ailments, and its flowers have been used in traditional rituals and festivals. In some regions, the plant is also considered to have symbolic significance and is associated with love, purity, and innocence.

Despite its many benefits, Bladder Campion faces several threats, including habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. The plant is also vulnerable to invasive species, which can outcompete and displace native plants. Conservation efforts, such as habitat restoration and the protection of important populations, are essential for the survival of Bladder Campion and the biodiversity it supports.

Bladder Campion is a species with a rich history and a diverse array of benefits. From its ornamental value to its ecological importance, Bladder Campion is a plant that deserves recognition and protection. Whether you are a gardener, an ecologist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, Bladder Campion is a plant that is sure to captivate and inspire.

Bladder Campion can also play a role in conservation biology and restoration ecology. In some cases, the introduction of Bladder Campion into degraded or disturbed habitats can help to stabilize soil, reduce erosion, and provide habitat for other species. The plant's ability to colonize disturbed habitats makes it a useful tool for restoring degraded lands and promoting biodiversity.

It's important to note that the introduction of non-native species, including Bladder Campion, can also have negative impacts on native ecosystems. The plant can become invasive and outcompete native species, altering the balance of ecosystems and reducing biodiversity. As a result, it's essential to carefully consider the potential consequences of introducing non-native species and to use caution when planting Bladder Campion or other non-native plants.

Bladder Campion is a fascinating and valuable species, and there is much to learn about its biology, ecology, and cultural significance. Whether you are a student, a researcher, or simply someone who loves nature, Bladder Campion is a plant that offers endless opportunities for discovery and learning.

In conclusion, Bladder Campion is a species with a wealth of benefits and a rich history. From its ornamental value to its ecological importance, Bladder Campion is a plant that is well worth appreciating and protecting. Whether you are a gardener, an ecologist, or simply someone who loves nature, Bladder Campion is a plant that is sure to inspire and captivate.

25 Facts About Bladder Campion

Bladder Campion is a wildflower belonging to the Caryophyllaceae family. Here are 25 facts about Bladder Campion:

  1. Scientific Name: Silene vulgaris
  2. Common Names: Bladder Campion, Maidenstears, Night-flowering Catchfly
  3. Appearance: It has white or pinkish flowers with distinctive inflated calyces resembling bladders.
  4. Habitat: Found in meadows, grasslands, and disturbed areas throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
  5. Life Cycle: It is a perennial plant, meaning it can live for more than two years.
  6. Height: Typically grows to about 30 to 80 centimeters in height.
  7. Blooming Period: Flowers bloom from late spring to early autumn.
  8. Leaves: The leaves are opposite, lance-shaped, and grayish-green.
  9. Flower Structure: The flowers have five petals and are arranged in clusters at the end of the stems.
  10. Fragrance: Bladder Campion has a mild, pleasant fragrance.
  11. Calyx Inflation: The inflated calyces protect the developing seeds and give the plant its common name.
  12. Edible Parts: Young leaves and shoots are edible and can be used in salads.
  13. Culinary Use: Bladder Campion has been historically used in traditional European cuisine.
  14. Historical Medicinal Use: It has been used in folk medicine for various ailments, including respiratory issues.
  15. Attracts Insects: The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
  16. Seed Dispersal: The plant relies on wind dispersal for its seeds.
  17. Adaptability: Bladder Campion is adaptable to different soil types.
  18. Weed Status: Considered a weed in some areas due to its ability to colonize disturbed sites.
  19. Hardiness: It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a variety of environmental conditions.
  20. Nocturnal Blooms: Some varieties of Bladder Campion open their flowers in the evening.
  21. Folklore: In some cultures, Bladder Campion has symbolic associations with love and courtship.
  22. Resilience: It can grow in both sunny and partially shaded areas.
  23. Seed Viability: Seeds can remain viable in the soil for several years.
  24. Conservation: In some regions, Bladder Campion is considered an indicator of habitat quality.
  25. Wildlife Value: The plant provides habitat and food for various insects and small animals.


Video 1: Bladder Campion filmed beside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on the 12th July 2022.


Video 2: Bladder Campion filmed at Kirklees Local Nature Reserve, Wigan, Lancashire on the 9th June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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