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Red Campion

Silene dioica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Cliffs, fields, gardens, grassland, hedgerows, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Red, 5 petals
5 rose-pink notched petals, up to 2.5cm. Flowers range in colour from dark red to pale pink depending on geographic location.
An ovoid capsule with 10 curved back teeth after becoming ripe. The capsule contains numerous seeds.
The dark green leaves are untoothed and appear in opposite pairs. They are lanceolate, pointed and with long winged stalks.
Red Campion, a native flowering plant in the UK, emits a delicate, pleasant scent. The fragrance of Red Campion's blooms is subtle and gentle, often described as sweet or slightly floral. However, the aroma is not overpowering; rather, it's a soft, natural scent that can be appreciated when in close proximity to the flowers.
Other Names:
Adder's Flower, Bachelor's Buttons, Billy Buttons, Bird's Eye, Bob Robin, Brid Een, Bull Rattle, Bull's Eye, Cancer, Cock Robin, Cuckooflower, Devil's Flower, Dolly Winter, Drunkards, Fleabites, Gipsy Flower, Gramfer Greygles, Johnny Woods, Mary's Rose, Morning Campion, Mother Dee, Ragged Jack, Red Butcher, Red Catchfly, Red Mintchop, Red Riding Hood, Red Robin Hood, Robin Flower, Robin Redbreast, Robin-in-the-hedge, Robin's Eye, Robin's Flower, Robroys, Sarah James, Scalded Apples, Soldiers' Buttons, Wake Robin.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Silene dioica, also known as red campion or red 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 red flowers and hairy leaves. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and waste areas. Silene dioica 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.


Red Campion (Silene dioica) is a wildflower that is native to Europe and Asia, and is commonly found in temperate climates and grasslands. It is a biennial or short-lived perennial plant that produces beautiful, bright pink flowers, which bloom in spring and early summer.

The plant grows up to 30-80 cm tall, and has a rosette of basal leaves in its first year. In its second year, it produces a tall, upright stem that bears clusters of delicate, five-petaled flowers. Each flower is about 1-2 cm in diameter, and has a distinctive five-lobed calyx that is covered in dense hairs.

Red Campion is a popular ornamental plant, and is often grown in gardens and wildflower meadows. It is easy to grow, and is tolerant of a range of soil types and light conditions. It is a hardy plant, and is resistant to drought, cold, and disease.

In addition to its ornamental value, Red Campion is also an important food source for a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The nectar-rich flowers are especially attractive to bees, and provide a valuable source of nutrition for these important insects.

Red Campion is also a valuable plant for wildlife, providing habitat and food for a variety of other species. It is often found growing in hedgerows and woodland edges, and is an important part of the wildflower meadow ecosystem.

Red Campion is a beautiful, hardy, and valuable wildflower that has a lot to offer in terms of both ornamental value and ecological importance. Whether you are a gardener looking to add a splash of color to your garden, or a nature lover looking to support wildlife and pollinators, Red Campion is a great choice.

Red Campion has a long history of medicinal and cultural uses. In traditional folk medicine, it was used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and digestive problems. The plant contains a range of active compounds, including flavonoids and alkaloids, which have been shown to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Red Campion has also played a role in folklore and mythology. It was believed by some ancient cultures to have protective properties, and was often planted near homes to ward off evil spirits. In some countries, it was also believed to bring good luck and prosperity, and was sometimes given as a gift to friends and loved ones.

Today, Red Campion remains an important and beloved wildflower, and continues to be valued for its beauty and ecological significance. If you are interested in growing Red Campion, it is easy to start from seed or by division. Simply plant it in a sunny or partially shaded location, in well-drained soil, and water regularly. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of Red Campion for years to come.

Red Campion is a versatile and fascinating wildflower that has much to offer in terms of both ornamental value and ecological significance. Whether you are a gardener, a naturalist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of wildflowers, Red Campion is a plant that is well worth exploring.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Red Campion is also an important plant for conservation and biodiversity. It is a common wildflower in many countries, and is considered an indicator species for healthy and well-functioning ecosystems.

However, like many wildflowers, Red Campion is facing threats from habitat destruction and other forms of environmental degradation. This is particularly true in urban and agricultural areas, where development and intensive land use practices are reducing the amount of suitable habitat for this and other wildflowers.

Fortunately, there are many ways to help protect and conserve Red Campion and other wildflowers. One way is to support conservation organizations that work to protect and restore wildflower habitats. Another way is to garden with native plants, and to encourage others to do the same.

Additionally, you can also participate in citizen science projects, such as wildflower monitoring programs, that help to track the distribution and abundance of Red Campion and other wildflowers. This type of data can be used to inform conservation and management decisions, and to help ensure that these important plants remain a part of our natural heritage for generations to come.

Red Campion is not only a beautiful and valuable wildflower, but also an important component of healthy and diverse ecosystems. By supporting conservation efforts and participating in citizen science, we can help ensure that this and other wildflowers continue to thrive and provide benefits to both people and the environment.

Another way to support the conservation of Red Campion and other wildflowers is through responsible land use practices. This includes reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, which can harm wildflowers and other pollinators, as well as reducing the amount of water and energy used in gardening and other land use practices.

Another important consideration is climate change, which is having a major impact on wildflowers and other plants. As temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change, many wildflowers are shifting their distribution ranges, or are becoming more or less abundant. In some cases, this can lead to declines in populations, or even extinction.

To help mitigate the impacts of climate change on wildflowers and other plants, it is important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to support renewable energy sources. Additionally, it is important to protect and restore wildflower habitats, as well as to plant native wildflowers and other vegetation that is adapted to local conditions.

Finally, it is important to educate others about the importance of Red Campion and other wildflowers. This can be done through outreach and engagement activities, such as guided walks and talks, as well as through written materials and other resources. By raising awareness about the importance of wildflowers and their conservation, we can inspire others to get involved, and to help protect these important plants for future generations.

In conclusion, there are many ways to support the conservation of Red Campion and other wildflowers. From responsible land use practices to education and outreach, there is much that can be done to help protect these valuable and important plants, and to ensure that they remain a part of our natural heritage for generations to come.

30 Facts About Red Campion Worth Knowing

Here are 30 interesting facts about Red Campion:

  1. Botanical Name: Silene dioica is the scientific name for Red Campion.
  2. Appearance: It's a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae.
  3. Flower Color: The flowers are typically pink or red, but sometimes they can also appear white.
  4. Bloom Time: Red Campion blooms from late spring to early autumn.
  5. Habitat: It's commonly found in woodland areas, hedgerows, and along roadsides in Europe and parts of North America.
  6. Biennial or Perennial: Red Campion can be both biennial or perennial, depending on the conditions.
  7. Pollination: Its flowers are pollinated by insects, especially bees and butterflies.
  8. Cultural Uses: In some cultures, the plant was historically used for various medicinal purposes.
  9. Edibility: Some parts of the plant are edible; young leaves can be consumed in salads.
  10. Life Cycle: It typically completes its life cycle in two years, flowering in the second year.
  11. Height: Red Campion can grow up to 30-90 centimeters in height.
  12. Seeds: The plant produces small, dark seeds.
  13. Cultivation: It can be grown in gardens as an ornamental plant due to its attractive flowers.
  14. Native Range: Red Campion is native to Europe and parts of Asia.
  15. Uses in Folklore: In folklore, Red Campion was associated with various superstitions and beliefs.
  16. Wildlife Habitat: It serves as a habitat and food source for certain wildlife, including caterpillars and birds.
  17. Soil Preferences: It prefers well-drained soil in partially shaded to sunny areas.
  18. Cultural Importance: It holds significance in some regional folklore and traditional medicinal practices.
  19. Hardiness: Red Campion is a hardy plant that can withstand various weather conditions.
  20. Hybridization: It can hybridize with other species of Silene.
  21. Conservation: It is protected in some regions due to habitat loss and declining populations.
  22. Folk Medicine: It was traditionally used in folk medicine for various ailments.
  23. Herbal Uses: Historically, parts of the plant were used in herbal remedies for certain conditions.
  24. Perennial Regions: In milder climates, it can act as a perennial and continue to flower over multiple years.
  25. Petal Arrangement: The flowers have five distinct petals.
  26. Adaptability: Red Campion can adapt to various environmental conditions.
  27. Nectar Source: It serves as a nectar source for pollinators.
  28. Invasive Potential: In some areas, it has the potential to become invasive due to its prolific seed production.
  29. Ecological Role: It contributes to the biodiversity of ecosystems.
  30. Varieties: There are various cultivated varieties of Red Campion, offering different flower colors and forms.


Video 1: Filmed in Adlington, Lancashire on the 14th June 2022.

Video 2: Red Campion filmed at many locations throughout May and June of 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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