Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Starry Campion - Silene stellata   Aiton fils
Members of Caryophyllaceae:
Members of Silene with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Caryophyllales » Family Caryophyllaceae
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AuthorAiton fils
DistributionThroughout the Mountains and the Piedmont, though some counties in the eastern part lack records; occurs sparingly into the western Coastal Plain, but only along brownwater river floodplains.

This is a widespread Eastern and Central species, ranging from CT west to MN, and south to central GA and northeastern TX.
AbundanceCommon in the Mountains and western Piedmont foothills; infrequent to locally fairly common in most of the Piedmont, but rare near the Fall Line. Rare in the Coastal Plain, where found only along brownwater river floodplains (Meherrin, Roanoke, and Cape Fear).
HabitatThis is a species of rich to somewhat mesic forests. It grows in Rich Cove Forests, Basic Mesic Forests, and Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forests more than in other types. It is not usually seen along forest borders as is S. virginica.
PhenologyBlooms from July to September, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is an erect herb, growing to about 2 feet tall, that is familiar to most people, at least in the western part of the state. It is a rare species in that it has leaves in whorls of 4, with 5-6 sets of whorls on the stem. Each leaf is lanceolate to ovate, about 3 inches long and 1-inch wide, acute at the tip and rounded at the base, with essentially no petiole. The panicle at the end of the stem is rather open, with a moderate number of white flowers, each with 5 corolla lobes strongly dissected several times into segments; the spread flower averages about 1-inch or more across. S. ovata is somewhat similar but is more robust, has clasping stem leaves that are in pairs and not whorled, and the corolla lobes are more finely dissected. This is a readily found species in the mountains but may take more effort to find eastward into the Piedmont.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Widow's-frill
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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