The perennial plant, more delicate than white campion, all hairless, but covered with aquamarine wax. It smells strongest at night, when it is visited by the most important pollinators: nocturnal wasps and hawk moths. Wild, non-cultivar form.
€1,50 – €3,25
Polish name: distended sticky weed, creaker
Latin name: Silene vulgaris (Moench.) Garcke, syn. Cucubalus latifolius Mill., C. venosus Gilib., Oberna behen Ikonn., Silene cucubalus Wib., S. inflata Sm., S. latifolia Rendle & Britt., S. oleraceus Ficin., S. venosa Asch.
Family: the pink family Caryophyllaceae
Status in Poland: native, very common
An imposing, dry-loving perennial plant (recognized as a chamephyte, less often as a hemicryptophyte according to Raunkiaer’s system) with a characteristically distended stem, underground runners, barrel-shaped flowers, and bluish color of the entire specimen. Contrary to most campions, it is not sticky to the touch, but squeaky due to the abundant discharge and then drying of the waxes.
Stems single, glabrous, rather supple, erect, branching upwards, 30-45 cm high, exceptionally up to 1 m.Leaves glabrous, acute, lanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate, 10-15 mm wide, pithy to the touch, with quite peculiar bluish shade.
The flowers are relatively large, with a barrel-shaped calyx with fused sepals, clustered in dichasium, bloom at nights from June to September. The calyx is five-sepaled, almost spherical or broadly ovate, smooth, with dark pink or light brown veins on a creamy, greenish or light mauve background. The teeth of the calyx are triangular and wide. The petals of the corolla are white and biparted, with a claw widened towards the apex. There is no corolla scale, eventually it is residual in hybrids with other campions.
The fruit of the bladder campion (maidenstears) is a capsule covered with loose, distended remains of the calyx, hanging from the stalk 4 to 5 times shorter than the capsule itself.Dull, ashen, kidney-shaped seeds reach 1.25-1.5 mm in length and 1.0-1.25 mm in width.
Bladder campion has recently been cultivated as a component of bee pastures and butterfly gardens, it’s very attractive to moths.
Prefers light places, and alkaline, dry, gravel or rocky soils.
In the Mediterranean basin, bladder campion is a well-known wild vegetable. Young stems and leaves are eaten raw in salads. The older ones are fried in olive oil or boiled, and then served with garlic. Especially many dishes from this plant are eaten in Spanish La Mancha. There was a separate profession there, collecter of the leaves of the bladder campion, which was a very time-consuming job.
In Poland, the bladder campion was fought in the past as a weed, especially in perennial cultivations (pastures, hay meadows, flower beds) by harrowing or early stubble cultivation.
On the bladder campion sometimes lives the Polish carmine scales (a bug), which used to provide the highly valued dye, exported from the Republic to Turkey, Persia and Western Europe.
The flowers of the bladder campion are open 24 hours a day, but wider at night. Then they give off a scent similar to that of clover, hardly perceptible to humans, but very attractive to many wasps and butterflies.
Only some long-hypopharynxed bees pollinate this campion. Other insects only rob nectar and pollen, for example bumblebees bite into a flower from the side.